While the opposition parties, especially Congress shout and crib about the government and the actions it is undertaking in the wake of Wuhan virus pandemic, the Union Home Minister Amit Shah is quietly working in an overdrive mode. According to a news report by The Hindu, after an intervention by Amit Shah, the Indian Coucil of Medical Research (ICMR) has expanded the number of laboratories that could conduct the COVID-19 tests. Subsequently the number of laboratories with the capability of conducting COVID-19 tests has shot up to 220 with the government further aiming to elevate the same to 300 by the end of April.
When the first Wuhan virus confirmed case appeared in India on January 30, all the samples were sent only to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) which is located in Pune. But as ICMR communicated its inability to enable more testing facilities, Shah is said to have put the foot down and told the ICMR to either include more facilities of testing or else the responsibility to conduct the testing would be accorded to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
The Home Minister communicated his stance in a meeting held in March which was attended by the Director-General of the ICMR, Dr Balram Bhargava. As an outcome of the meeting, by 17 March, the number of laboratories with the capability to test samples for Covid-19 had shot up to 72. While on March 23, it fast-tracked approval for Indian COVID-19 testing kits for commercial use in the ICMR approved government and private laboratories.
With the number of cases going well past the 10,000 mark, the government has so far contained the virus and its spread with an effective nation-wide lockdown which is being seen as an anti-dote to stop the spread of virus–given the vaccine is still a far-fetched dream.
The country under PM Narendra Modi and the strict monitoring of Union Home Minister Amit Shah is looking to do the whole nine yards as the lockdown has been extended to May 3rd.
Amidst the entire pandemonium surrounding the deadly virus, it has been business as usual at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) led by Amit Shah who has ensured that the ministry works non-stop throughout the lockdown whilst constantly coordinating with the state and Union Territories in order to ensure that all bottlenecks coming in way during the lockdown period are eradicated on a real-time basis.
In fact, Union Home Minister Amit Shah made it clear right from the word go that one of the two Ministers of State for Home Affairs- Nityanand Rai and G. Kishan Reddy should be available at the ministry at all times.
Even in West Bengal where Mamta Banerjee’s lax attitude regarding the lockdown is being questioned in the media circles, Amit Shah was quick to respond when he sent a letter sternly warning her that he has had enough of her antics.
The anti-CAA rioters of Delhi would have been relishing the thought of escaping the rigours of the law in the backdrop of the ongoing lockdown, given that the Delhi Police had to take up other matters- enforcing social distancing, tackling the Tablighi Jamaat fiasco, proceeding against the glaring illegalities in the construction of the Nizamuddin Markaz and also going after the absconding Maulana Saad.
But Amit Shah did not let his attention divert from these developments either and continued watching over the progress into the Delhi riots investigations constantly. He made up his mind not to let the rioters go scot-free, and now it seems that despite the Coronavirus outbreak and the 21-day lockdown, the Delhi Police is really going for the jugular. So far, Amit Shah has got over 800 goons arrested for involvement in Delhi riots
Amit Shah and his cadre of officers have been leading from the front in the pandemic and so far he has proved his mettle by effectively handling every curveball thrown his way. The state governments need to pick up the momentum now and try to mitigate the spread of the virus as soon as possible.