India leads global fight against COVID-19 with research: M Venkaiah Naidu

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu lauded the efforts, ingenuity of Indian researchers and scientists for finding technological solutions to the problem.

India leads global fight against COVID-19 with research: M Venkaiah Naidu
Press Trust of India | Mar 8, 2021 - 9:08 a.m. IST
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New Delhi: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said resilience, research and re-invention have helped India become a torch-bearer in the global fight against COVID-19. He also appreciated the efforts and ingenuity of Indian researchers and scientists for finding technological solutions to the challenges thrown by the pandemic.

Addressing the first Graduation Day ceremony of the Employees' State Insurance Corporation Medical College (Faridabad) held in New Delhi, Naidu praised doctors, scientists and policymakers for the fight against the virus. "I salute the entire medical fraternity from doctors to nurses, para-medical staff and sanitary workers, technicians and ASHA workers in villages, who, as team India came together as one to fight the pandemic," he said. Naidu also lauded the Indian industry for ramping up the production of essential items such as PPE kits, surgical gloves, face masks, ventilators and vaccines.

He also appreciated the medical and paramedical institutes being run by the ESIC for their role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. During the ceremony, the vice president was glad to see that all the medal winners were girls. He congratulated them and underlined the need to provide equal opportunities to women in every field.

"I have always believed that if you serve humanity with a spirit of selfless dedication, you will derive boundless satisfaction," he told the passing out students. Referring to the largest vaccination drive in the world against COVID-19 being undertaken in India, the vice president said the worst phase of the pandemic appears to be over. However, he cautioned people to remain vigilant and continue to take all the necessary precautions till the country defeats the virus decisively.

Challenges to be addressed

In his address, Naidu also referred to several other health challenges that need to be addressed such as low doctor-patient ratio, shortage of medical colleges, inadequate infrastructure in rural areas, and low adoption of health insurance. Expressing concern over high out-of-pocket expenditure on health in India, Naidu called for ensuring quality healthcare for all at affordable rates.

The vice president praised ESIC for running India's largest social security programme covering roughly 10 per cent of the country's population. Naidu also appreciated ESIC for several new initiatives such as MoU with the National Health Authority (NHA) wherein the beneficiaries of the ESI scheme in selected districts can access services at Ayushman Bharat-empanelled hospitals. He also appreciated the ESIC's initiative to open its underutilised hospitals to the general public on a nominal user charge basis.

Naidu also expressed satisfaction over India emerging as an attractive medical tourism hub in the region due to its state-of-the-art facilities and highly skilled professionals. On this occasion, Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar said, "A historic task of amalgamating 44 labour laws into four codes. After the implementation of the Code on Social Security 2020, which is one of those codes, Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) services would be expanded to all districts in the country."

Labour Secretary Apurva Chandra said the ESIC would cover unorganised workers including gig and platform workers under its social security ambit. Gig and platform workers are those workers that work outside of traditional employers and employees relationship. The platform workers are attached to an online platform to provide their services like Ola, Uber, Zomato or Swiggy.

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