On May 6, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) issued a statement that a section of media has been distorting its April 19 letter to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). In its report, FICCI said that since they submitted the note, a lot has changed, and the respective state governments have taken the necessary actions to deploy unused ventilators.
FICCI’s letter of April 19 to @ndmaindia has been distorted in some sections of media & we consider it necessary to set the record straight: FICCI President Mr Uday Shankar.#FICCISpeaks pic.twitter.com/wX4pNZW4F0— FICCI (@ficci_india) May 6, 2021
The relevant paragraph that has been used by media houses says, “It has been observed that most of the 40,000 ventilators manufactured under the PM Care Fund last year have been lying unused at government facilities either due to shortage of intensivists ( specialist healthcare professionals) or due to lack of oxygen supply and consumables.”
FICCI said, “Since we submitted the letter, a lot has changed, and the state governments have taken action and redeployed them and are providing oxygen and expert professionals to deploy these ventilators.”
The association further clarified that they never suggested any negligence on the part of the government. Their suggestions were designed to spotlight the better utilization of critical resources as the second wave had started to rise at that time. “a lot of ground has been covered by all the governments in the last three weeks,” they added.
FICCI further added that any suggestion pointing fingers at any government – central or state- is either ill-informed or mischievous. “FICCI is committed to working closely and constructively with the centre and all the state governments to help the country in this moment of crisis and strongly disapproves of any attempt to point fingers at this time,” they said. While urging everyone to work together, they said, “The nation is faced with an unprecedented challenge, and all of us must work together to save lives and save livelihoods.”
Misleading reporting by Times of India
On May 3, the Times of India published a report stating over 40,000 ventilators produced under PM CARES Funds have been lying unused across the country while aid has been coming from foreign nations. The report suggested that there was a lack of coordination and negligence on the ground that led to such mismanagement. A screenshot of the e-copy of the information was shared by the TOI journalist Rupali Mukherjee.
The report added, “In a recent communication to the National Disaster Management Authority, Industry chamber FICCI said most of the 40,000 ventilators manufactured under the PM CARES Fund last year have been lying unused at government facilities either due to shortage of intensivists or due to lack of oxygen supply and consumables.”
A clipping of the report was further posted by M K Venu, Founder Editor of the Left-leaning news agency The Wire.
In a Tweet, he said, “FICCI has written to Centre saying most of 40000 ventilators manufactured under PM Cares Fund last year are lying unused at government facilities. Mainly due to negligence & lack of coordination. We have reached a point where the right-hand does not know what right hand is doing!”