The Covid-19 vaccine strategy adopted by India during the deadly pandemic saved more than 3.4 million lives as well as had a positive impact on the country's economy, said Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday.
In a virtual address of the 'The India Dialog' session on the Economic Impact of Vaccination & Related Matters, he said that for the effective management of Covid-19, the country "adopted a 'whole of government' and 'whole of society' approach in a proactive, preemptive and graded manner thus adopting a holistic response strategy".
He also released a working paper by Stanford University and Institute for Competitiveness titled "Healing the Economy: Estimating the Economic Impact on India's vaccination and related issues".
The paper highlighted that India was able to save more than 3.4 million lives by undertaking the nationwide Covid vaccination campaign at an unprecedented scale. The campaign also yielded a positive economic impact by preventing a loss of $18.3 billion to India's economy. A net benefit of $15.42 billion occurred for the nation after taking into consideration the cost of the vaccination campaign.
The paper discussed the role of containment as a measure to prevent the spread of the virus. A strict lockdown in the initial period was announced, after which three more lockdown phases followed in succession. A containment strategy followed this in the unlock phases which were decentralized gradually, with specific regions gaining more control over its implementation.
The Stanford report noted that robust measures at the ground level, like contact tracing, mass testing, home quarantine, distribution of essential medical equipment, revamping healthcare infrastructure, and constant coordination among stakeholders at the center, state, and district levels, not only helped contain the spread of the virus but also in augmenting the health infrastructure.
It elaborates that three measures -- containment, relief package, and vaccine administration -- were critical in saving lives and ensuring economic activity by containing the spread of Covid, sustaining livelihoods, and developing immunity against the virus.
Mandaviya also credited a large part of the success to the citizens who cooperated with the government and other stakeholders in the fight against Covid.
Healing the relief packages for citizens, Mandaviya said it "not only helped mitigate the adverse effects of Covid-19 but also provided an impetus to the economic activities."
The relief package by the government catered to the welfare needs of vulnerable groups, the old age population, farmers, Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and women entrepreneurs amongst others, and also ensured support for their livelihoods.
The paper also highlighted the food security programs during the pandemic like the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY). The programs ensured free food grains were distributed to 800 million people which resulted in an economic impact of approximately $26.24 billion.
In addition, PM Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan helped in providing immediate employment and livelihood opportunities to migrant workers. Through the scheme, 4 million beneficiaries were provided employment which resulted in an overall economic impact of $4.81 billion. (KB/IANS)