The Centre on Thursday said the media report claiming that government did not deliver ventilators to states during the second COVID-19 wave are “less than adequately informed" and baseless. No ventilators were kept in the inventory by the Central government.
“Every lot of ventilators which is ready for dispatch is getting dispatched to the states/UTs promptly. Therefore, the observations and interpretations drawn in the article are not based on the facts," the government said.
The government is responding to a report which alleged that the “Centre kept 13,000 unused ventilators" during the second wave crisis.
In a press release on Thursday, the government said it had placed the order for procurement of ventilators at the beginning of the pandemic. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had ordered procurement of 58,850 ventilators between March 27 and March 17, 2020.
The government said that they were all Make-In-India ventilators as there was a minimum chance of sourcing ventilators from abroad in view of the high global demand and export restrictions in manufacturing countries. “The domestic capacity of manufacturing ventilators was very limited and these manufacturers were encouraged to ramp up production, which they carried out by sourcing technology as well as undertaking tie ups with companies who could assist them in augmenting the production," the release said.
Technically examined and validated by the Committee of Experts under Director General of Health Services, the ventilators were recommended for supplies to the states and UTs. The supplies were made as per the demand received from states and UTs, it said.
“The demand from the states for ventilators received till September 2020 was addressed through supplies. Thereafter negligible additional requirement was projected by the states. Till November, 2020, almost entire quantity of ventilators demanded by the states had been delivered i.e., 35,398 ventilators. After November till March 2021, additional supply of ventilators was only 996 since the additional demand for ventilators was this much only," the government statement read.
The Centre alleged that a large number of the supplied ventilators remained unused by the states. “Considering the fact that states did not allocate them to the hospitals in view of no demand, Union Health Secretary on 11.04.2021 addressed a letter to a few states requesting them to expedite the installation of ventilators, and for projecting additional requirement of ventilators if any in view of the recent surge in cases. Subsequently, the Union Health Ministry reminded the states/UTs multiple times," the government said.