Mumbai, 18th May 2021: Blaming the health bureaucracy for mishandling, failure of vaccination drive, and proper communication, Mohandas Pai, Chairman Aarin Capital Partners, and Padma Shri awardee has called out for greater transparency in the rollout of vaccines.
Calling the second wave a PR disaster, Pai has said there is a total lack of transparency and communication both by the states and central government.
“When the Centre opened up vaccination it should have told the states about their program and directed them to a channelizing organization to procure the vaccine jointly or go directly which the center did not do. We should blame the health bureaucracy for this because the health bureaucracy has to inform political leaders about pros and cons and risk analysis and accordingly advise them. They seem to have abdicated their responsibility in several directions because we don’t see them having that impact at all.”
Pai was speaking to Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, during the live webcast of the Visionary Talk series held by the public policy and governance analysis platform.
He said that every state should have set up a group of experts to advise the govt.
Pai, who is also the chairman of Manipal Global Education (Manipal University) further said there is a gap in the capacity of health officials and the central govt too has not been transparent.
The Centre he said should come out and state the no. of vaccines it will give to which state for the next 15 days. It can make a 15-day schedule for everybody and go on advancing every fifteen days and inform about anticipated production for the next 3 months.
“At least people will have data. There has to be greater transparency in the rollout of the vaccine in the future. With the manner in which the data is given for the next 3 days, there is so much anxiety and fear there needs more transparency and communication. To me, the 2nd wave has been a PR disaster, total lack of transparency and communication both by the states and central government” said Pai.
Pai also said that Govt of India officials are arrogant by nature, dictate terms and treat people shabbily.
Asked to respond to the country’s top virologist, Dr. Shahid Jameel’s resignation as chairman of the scientific advisory group of Indian SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing consortia and how this may pan out, Pai said he (Pai) has been constantly told that health bureaucracy is resisting the advice of experts and countering them. “What is the point in having an expert body if you don’t listen to them. Give reasons if you don’t want to listen to them. Govt of India officials by nature is arrogant. They think they know everything. They try to dictate to you and they treat you shabbily.”
As part of many govt committees, some of which are equally good and others equally bad, Pai said, govt officials, don’t care for things and do things only to show people they are doing something. “They have been exposed in health bureaucracy and many of them should be sacked for misleading people. You have an expert committee. You must listen to them and argue it out and come to a consensus. There are people much better than you. There are virologists, epidemiologist and you must sit down and dictate a consensus document. You must listen to them. It is good for the government to listen to them because tomorrow he said if anybody points a finger they can always they listened to experts” he said.
He also said that “Each state must have a health committee that should advise the chief minister and talk to the public and calm them down. He said the government handling of Covid has been an act of colonial state where instead of being collaborative and cooperative, people sitting around somewhere are telling you what to do. Below the PM and the health minister, there should have been much more communication and dissemination of information” said Pai.