Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman assures ramp up in supply of Oxygen & Remdesivir to States; reiterates the importance of micro – containment policies over lockdown in virtual interaction with Industry Captains

Ministry of Finance:

Union Minister for Finance Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman praised the Indian Industry for its extreme forbearance, patience and perseverance, and described it with Japanese word ‘Gamanzuyoi’.

The Finance Minister was addressing more than 150 senior industry captains in a virtual interaction organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here today.

Smt. Sitharaman emphasised on the need for adopting micro containment strategy in dealing with the 2nd surge of the pandemic and acknowledged that the deliberations with CII had helped shaped this strategy.

Explaining the rationale, the Finance Minister said that unlike last time we now have important tools such as vaccines and medicines, to deal with the pandemic.

On meeting the phenomenal increase in demand for medical oxygen, a critical treatment tool for COVID-19, the Finance Minister assured seamless supply to states.

Measures that the government is taking include importing medical oxygen, round the clock working of the oxygen filling stations and allowing containers used for nitrogen and argon to be used for oxygen, the Finance Minister added.

The Finance Minister also gave details of Government initiatives to help ramp up capacity of Remdesivir from 36 lakh vials per month to 78 lakh vials per month.

Some of these measures include rapid clearances for new capacities, stopping exports, stopping the exports of APIs and formulations used in the manufacture of this life saving drug, and allowing EoUs and manufacturers located in SEZs to also sell in the domestic market, She said.

During the interaction, CII members manufacturing Remdesivir apprised the Finance Minister that they were in fact working towards exceeding the committed target of 78 lakh vials per month and aiming to reach a production of 1 crore vials per month.

Elaborating on the recent announcements on the vaccination, the Finance Minister said that the CII’s suggestions on opening up of the vaccination to all adults, allowing industry to vaccinate its employees and their families and allowing vaccine imports have all been accepted in the policy.

The Government has also cleared an advance payment of Rs 4,600 crore to Serum Institute of India and Bharat Bio Tech, to help them ramp up capacities.

Welcoming the CII suggestions on mitigating the impact to the economy to save livelihoods, alongside lives, the Finance Minister assured an examination of the same.

Earlier, Mr Uday Kotak, President CII and Managing Director & CEO, Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited in his opening remarks lauded the speed of Government’s policy action, for tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, over the last 72 hours.

Mr Kotak emphasised on the importance of vaccination and doing whatever it takes to ramp up vaccination. He also emphasised on ensuring adequate supplies of oxygen, medicines and beds in the immediate term.

In the medium term, he emphasised on ramping up research to identify and tackle the mutants and to upgrade the vaccines. He also suggested to build India’s capacity in terms of supplies and medical infrastructure to address any possible future waves.

An encouraging trend – Mumbai’s daily cases have plateaued at a lower level over the last week or so according to the ATE Chandra Foundation: Anand Mahindra

Anand Mahindra – Chairman, Mahindra Group:

A glimmer of light in the gloom. It comes from Mumbai.

Through the pandemic I’ve been relying on the outstanding insights of the ATE Chandra Foundation. Their model shows an encouraging trend. Mumbai’s daily cases have plateaued at a lower level over the last week or so.

Sero prevalence in Mumbai (existence of Covid antibodies) is high at 40%+ & rising fast due to both new infections & vaccinations.

Global evidence suggests at around 60-65% we may reach a tipping point from where daily cases sharply decline. Just as it happened in the UK.

The key to expediting this trend is accelerating vaccinations. The accompanying chart shows the impact of a strong vaccination drive in the U.S.

And citizens behaving responsibly reduces the load on an overburdened healthcare system & facilitates early lifting of lockdowns.

This statistical projection done by @ATEChandrafdn could well become a reality in Mumbai & also the way forward for the rest of the country.

Customs duty on Remdesivir waived: Sadananda Gowda

Considering the immediate requirement on the recommendation of the Department of Pharmaceuticals, the Department of Revenue has waived customs duty on Remdesivir and its API/KSM.

This step will further augment domestic availability of Remdesivir injection.

DV Sadananda Gowda – union minister

Hoping to deal with it in a “positive” frame of mind, with rest, steam & plenty of fluids.. : Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor – MP, Congress leader:

After waiting two days for a test appointment and another day & a half for the results, I finally have confirmation: I’m Covid positive.

Hoping to deal with it in a “positive” frame of mind, with rest, steam & plenty of fluids.

My sister & 85 year old mother are in the same boat.

Folks should know that my sister has had two doses of the Pfizer vaccine in California and my mother & I took our second Covishield shot on April 8.

So we have every reason to hope that though vaccines cannot prevent infection, they will moderate the impact of the Covid virus.

Govt. has decided to make certain restrictions in East Khasi Hills: CM, Conrad Sangma

Conrad Sangma – Chief Minister, Meghalaya:

In view of the rising COVID19 cases in the Shillong agglomeration, Govt. has decided to make certain restrictions in East Khasi Hills:

RT-PCR test mandatory in entry points for entrants from 23rd April.

Tourist Spots in the district will be shut till 30th April 2021

Colleges and Universities in Shillong will be closed up to 3rd May 2021 except colleges that are exam centres.

Non Essential Shops will be closed from 26th to 2nd May 2021

Gyms, Swimming Pools, Gaming Parlours, Cinemas, Clubs, Salons, Bars will be shut from 23rd till 30th April, 2021

Government offices will operate with 33% strength.

We reiterate the need for all citizens to not let their guards down as we go through this Second COVID Wave.

Please limit unnecessary traveling and avoid crowded spaces. We also encourage citizens above 45 years of age to take the vaccine.

Sri Sri at Sunrise

The formless is ruling your life. The formless is ruling the world. And there is a greater formlessness that is ruling the entire creation. And you are the centre of that greater formlessness, whatever you call it—God, Consciousness, No-Mind, Nirvana, Spirit, you may call it anything by name:

Pic Credit:SriSri