Union commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal has called upon the G-20 nations to ensure access to essential medicines, treatments and vaccines at affordable prices. He also stressed to focus on immediate and concrete actions that can ease the distress being faced by people all over the world due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Goyal said that the unprecedented situation calls for solidarity and a balanced, inclusive and calibrated response. He also strongly called for agreement to enable the use of TRIPs flexibilities to ensure access to essential medicines, treatments and vaccines at affordable prices. India will also emerge stronger after the implementation of the special economic package announced by the Prime Minister amounting to around 10% of our GDP, stated Goyal.
Commerce and industry minister added that doing away with the policy instrument of export restrictions is not a panacea that will guarantee access to medical products and food for all. In fact, such a step is likely to lead to a flight of these critical products to the highest bidder, making them inaccessible to the resource-poor. Goyal added that widely regarded as the ‘Pharmacy of the World’, India is also proactively partnering in global efforts to develop vaccines and effective treatment for this disease.
He said, “We offer full support to any global engagements to further this cause. India has unconditionally provided medical supplies to over 120 countries to combat this disease, of which 43 countries received it as a grant. Emergency Fund has been created and is being utilised to deliver urgent medical supplies, equipment and humanitarian assistance to our neighbours. We are also sharing our medical and public health expertise and capacity with them, using digital technologies.”
“When the pandemic broke out, India barely produced a few thousand pieces of personal protective equipment. We had never needed PPEs in large numbers ever before. When we realised that countries were not able to supply enough for our needs, our domestic manufacturers created and ramped up capacities. So much so, that we now produce nearly 300,000 PPEs every day,” added Goyal.
Goyal further added that the world has to come together to build partnerships among like-minded nations with shared values of democracy, rules-based and transparent business models and concern for humanity as a whole. India wishes to contribute to this global effort. He said “In the last few months, we have embarked upon an ambitious reform agenda under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to transform our country.