In a letter addressed to states, the Centre has categorically made it clear that, procurement of crucial medical equipment like PPE, N95 masks, ventilators is not in the hands of the state government but the Centre. This decision has drawn flak from many calling it ‘politics’ in times of pandemic.
Secretary to the government of India, G. K Pillai, on April 2nd , through a letter, Informed the Principal Secretaries of all the respective Indian states about the decision terming it ' Urgent' . The letter read, “ State governments / UTs may not go for procurement of crucial medical equipment like PPEs, N95 masks and ventilators and that these should be procured centrally by the ministry of Health & family welfare. Further, it will be distributed to states’.
According to the Secretary, this decision is a result of the 3rd meeting of empowered group that has been formed to ensure availability of essentials medical equipment to curtail the coronavirus outbreak in India.
The letter further adds, “Certain states have been found to be holding sufficient stocks of material with them but the field functionaries have been reported to be functioning without such equipment. The state should ensure timely distribution of the key equipment to field functionaries, timely.
The centre has also directed the state health department to ensure that all ventilators are in a working condition. ‘The officials may look into the inventory management and ensure that such crucial medical COVID-19 are put to working condition at the earliest. Oxygen cylinders availability in the states needs to be quantified and every state must ensure that sufficient availability is made.