In a bid to address the challenges arising due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Empowered Group-3 chaired by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant reached out to more than one lakh Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Monday to deliberate on coordinated strategies to navigate through the impact of the recent surge in COVID cases.
According to a release, the meeting was attended by Principal Scientific Adviser Dr K Vijayaraghavan; Kamal Kishore, Member, National Disaster Management Authority, and other senior officials from MEA, MHA, Cabinet Secretariat, and Prime Minister's Office.
Meanwhile, members of NGOs/CSOs were informed of the recent initiatives taken by the government viz. waiver of import duties on oxygen and related equipment, the opening of vaccination for 18 above population, providing free foodgrains for 80 crore people for two months, and resolving logistical bottlenecks.
Meanwhile, CEO, NITI Aayog appreciated and thanked the CSOs for their efforts in combating COVID-19 in India. The organisations requested continued support and efforts in managing the COVID-19 infections in the second wave. Meanwhile, He stressed upon them to reach out to the people with awareness campaigns which can be downloaded in regional languages and made available from indiafightscovid.com to dispel common myths and provide accurate information regarding COVID vaccination (anthem, radio jingles, out of home creative's).
At the same time, Civil society organisations such as Akshaya Patra, Narayan Sevasansthan, Indian Cooperative Network for Women (ICNW). Narayan Seva Sansthan, Karuna Trust, Marico Innovation Foundation, Dharma Life. Swasth Foundation, Dadi dada Foundation, HelpAge India, Grassroots Research and Advocacy Movement. VANI, Lupin Foundation, Public Health Foundation of India. International Centre for Red Cross and Disha Foundation made several suggestions for addressing these challenges.
Meanwhile, some of the measures suggested include issuing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for home care services, creating awareness on vaccine hesitancy, helping the senior citizens poor and migrants to enroll in vaccination, and providing short-term relaxation in guidelines pertaining to CSR, 80-G exemptions, FCRA relaxation CEO, NITI Aayog also stressed upon CSOs to ensure that food reaches the right beneficiaries and nutritional issues also properly addressed.