Action on Dr. Dixon's recommendation to the government of India.
- The Hon'ble Prime Minister of India announces next phase of Covid-19 vaccination, all above 18 years eligible.
- Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog: Second COVID wave could impact economy.
Further to the consultation with the Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog, Dr. Rajiv Kumar by Dr. Dixon, the Executive Director of UNADAP, on the 14th of April, 2021, and his submission of the economic condition of India along with the vaccine dispensation proposal; the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, has now lowered the vaccination age to 18 years, as previously 45 years.
The Hon'ble Prime Minister has stated the following:
Everyone above the age of 18 to be eligible to get vaccine from 1 May, says Centre
The announcement comes after a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Dr. Rajiv Kumar stated this about India's economic condition, as presented by Dr. Dixon:
The country needs to prepare for "greater uncertainty" in terms of consumer as well as investor sentiments due to the second wave of coronavirus infections, and the government will respond with fiscal measures as and when required, NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar said on April 18. While acknowledging that the present situation has become far more difficult than it was in the past due to rising coronavirus infections, Mr. Kumar remained hopeful that the country's economy will grow 11% in the current fiscal ending March 31, 2022. (Source: The Hindu)
NITI Aayog, New Delhi
His Excellency, Dr. Rajiv Kumar, the Hon’ble Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog, India's official Think Tank, the rank and status of Cabinet Minister and UNADAP’s Executive Director, Dr. Dominic F Dixon engaged in a fruitful consultation on matters pertaining to India’s national interest. The Hon’ble Prime Minister who is also the Chairperson of NITI Aayog, was occupied with the elections in West Bengal, as even the meeting with French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and the Prime Minister was cancelled due to a COVID related response.
Discussions between the Vice Chairperson and the Executive Director were on India’s diplomatic relations, India’s economy, India’s vaccine drive and the foreigners in India.
Dr. Dixon had expressed his concern over India’s vaccine drive initiative, that the present age of vaccination is 45 years and above, which means that only 25.3% (245 million) of India’s population is eligible. We need to rethink that age as the most vulnerable are school going children, young working adults, whilst the most social age group is between 25-40 years, and are not eligible. India’s median age is 26.8 years, making half of India’s population 26.8 years. India’s young workforce is what drives India’s economic machinery, and we cannot neglect them. India being the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, as of April 16, 2021, has exported over 65 million doses as gifts and donations under Vaccine Maitri scheme or Vaccine Diplomacy. India plans to inoculate 250 million Indians by July 2021, a number that would need to double, at double the pace.
Dr. Dixon is of the view that lockdowns are not the solution to containing the virus. Perhaps, governments have been confronted with a double-edged sword, where multitudes of Indians could die from COIVD-19 or die from starvation, and the government is in a dilemma of taking that call. Dr. Dixon stated that; we need to understand that no government was prepared for the novel, new virus and therefore what the government of India does, is what the world has been doing, learning from its actions of success and failure, with the best interest of it’s people in mind.
According to the IMF (International Monetary Fund), India’s rating versus Bangladesh is on a decline as a backlash of demonetization, method of GST implementation, unplanned lockdowns, and policies that have affected industries and sectors. According to the IMF, India would be behind Bangladesh by 2025 in terms of per capita, and the third in South Asia, after Pakistan and Nepal. In 2020, India’s GDP was at an 11 year low of 4.2% growth, while Bangladesh grew at 8.2%. By 2025, Bangladesh will be at $2,756.11 and India, $2,729.24. India is at cross roads with the pandemic reeking havoc on the economy as businesses are affected and directly impacting the livelihoods of its citizens.
Dr. Dixon stated that, as a response to the IMF’s assessment, the GDP per capita is only an 'estimate' for one 'indicator' of the average standard of living in a country, and there are many other indicators that must be taken into account to grasp the bigger picture. That being said, India stands poised to achieve economic success, as Indians are resilient in the face of adversity.
Dr. Dixon had presented that India’s foreign office, the MeA, needs to be more on the offensive in countering attacks from foreign entities and the UN on matters of the CAA, FCRA and NRC. India also needs to up its pitch towards becoming a permanent member of the UNSC. The Foreigners department of the MHA needs be more sensitive in handling of properly documented foreigners in the country by their ‘investigators’, avoiding harassment and antagonizing, bearing in mind the diplomatic relations India enjoys with such countries, and observing human rights. Dr. Dixon had expressed him witnessing one such case of torment, against a Catholic Priest by an investigator in 2019. The MHA has been appraised about this matter.
It is a contradiction for the FRRO investigators to go after properly documented foreigners for ‘apparent’ visa violations, whilst ignoring the prostitution racket and drug peddling by hundreds if not thousands of illegal foreigners in the country. Dr. Dixon expressed his interaction with the FRROs of Bangalore and Chennai to be a breath of fresh air and courteous, in helping foreigners.
Dr. Dixon had also appreciated the FRROs for having the courage to apprehend several foreigners coming into India on a ‘Visitor Visa’ and found conducting businesses, or on a visitor visa, and found conducting full-fledged evangelism, running orphanages, etc. This is a gross violation of the visa by the foreigners, who have cried foul and used the cards of “minority” or ‘persecution” at the United Nations level, and on social media. India does not discriminate but enforces the visa rules, as every country does.
In terms of the FCRA, Dr. Dixon had highly appreciated the Director FCRA, Mr. Santosh Sharma of executing justice and fairness to NGOs. Dr. Dixon had several opportunities of addressing matters with the Director at the MHA.
UNADAP is grateful to the Hon’ble VC for the audience in the midst of the pandemic crisis. Overwhelmed with his admiration and appreciation of the work of UNADAP in India, for the causes of reaching out to the poor, working for social justice, implementing the UN SDGs, and in representing the country, internationally.