40 lakh Indians died due to ‘govt negligence’: Rahul Gandhi’s jibe over NYT Covid report

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Sunday claimed that at least 40 lakh people succumbed to Covid-19 in India due to the “negligence of the government” and urged it to give each victim’s family 4 lakh as compensation.

Sharing a screenshot of a New York Times report that claimed that India is stalling the World Health Organization’s (WHO) efforts to make its Covid-19 death toll public, the Congress leader tweeted in Hindi: “Modiji neither tells the truth himself nor does he allow anyone else to speak it. They still lie that no one died due to oxygen shortage.”

Gandhi insisted that he has already highlighted the large number of deaths related to coronavirus disease that were not being reported. “I had said earlier as well — due to the negligence of the government during the Covid pandemic, not 5 lakh, but 40 lakh Indians died,” added the Congress leader.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, which has reported around five lakh deaths due to Covid-19, has objected to the methodology adopted by the WHO for estimating the global death toll due to the pandemic. According to the health ministry, the same model cannot be applied to all countries, particularly a large one like India.

Using its methodology, the UN health agency had estimated about 15 million deaths due to Covid-19 globally by the end of 2021. The New York Times report alleged that the WHO has estimated around 40 lakh deaths in India, which is almost eight times more than the health ministry’s figures.

“But the release of the staggering estimate…has been delayed for months because of objections from India, which disputes the calculation of how many of its citizens died and has tried to keep it from becoming public,” the report states.

The health ministry issued a statement in response to the article titled ‘India Is Stalling WHO’s Efforts to Make Global Covid Death Toll Public’ dated April 16, saying the country has on several occasions shared its concerns with the global health body over the methodology used.

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