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Covid aid to India from across the world, but how will it be distributed?
The majority of resources coming to India are being routed through the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS).
Amidst a tsunami of demand for medical oxygen, equipment and medicines as India battles a deadly second wave of Covid-19, over 40 nations have offered to assist the domestic effort.
As cases spiral, the government faces a herculean challenge in the form of providing an adequate supply of oxygen, equipment and medicines and ensuring the allocation of resources to those who need them the most.
While Indian envoys abroad have been tasked with scouting and acquiring all that is urgently needed in India, the bureaucratic machinery at home is working to handle the foreign reinforcements and domestic procurements. The current mobilisation involving the mapping of locations where supplies are urgently needed is being steered by empowered groups or panels.
These empowered groups were first set up days after the first lockdown was announced last year. Initially, 11 empowered panels were formed to handle services to combat the pandemic, but in September last year they were restructured to a smaller group of five.
The objective is to dispatch promptly to recipient institutions in various parts of the country in coordination with different government agencies. Once the consignment arrives, the information is passed to the empowered committees. In consultation with the health ministry officials, the material is distributed and the road and transport ministry is tasked with the supply of these materials. They are then immediately dispatched to various places.
Top sources in the government tell India Today that a committee of officers headed by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant has been coordinating the foreign aid which is now trickling in and is expected to increase in the coming days.
The majority of resources coming to India are being routed through the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS). Those coming through direct collaboration between companies and NGO are being distributed by respective organisations.
On April 29, India received a consignment of 20 oxygen concentrators, 75 ventilators, 150 bedside monitors, 2,00,928 Fabipiravir/Coronavir from Emercom or the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Russian Federation via IRCS, which was later transferred to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The British Embassy in Berlin handed over to the health ministry 120 oxygen concentrators on Thursday.
A day earlier, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent 256 oxygen cylinders and 16 cylinder steel racks to India.
The island nation of Mauritius, via its Ministry of Health and Wellness, handed over 200 oxygen concentrators in Mumbai.