As told to Parliament (July 27, 2021): Government to start COVID-19 vaccinations of children from August

All that was discussed in the House through the day

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 27 July 2021

India will start vaccinating children against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from August, Union minister for health and family welfare, Mansukh Mandaviya, was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times and The Telegraph July 27, 2021.

Mandaviya made the statement at the parliamentary meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. All Indians aged 18 years and above are being vaccinated currently since the vaccination programme started in January this year.

The European Union and the United States have already authorised COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Moderna, Inc and Pfizer-BioNTech for children aged 12-17 years and 12-15 years.

Congenital abnormalities 

Congenital abnormalities in rural India were caused by various factors, Bharati Pravin Pawar, Union minister of state in the ministry of health and family welfare told the Rajya Sabha. These included micronutrient deficiencies among pregnant women, poor maternal health status, occupational exposure to toxicants, ingestion of contraindicated drugs during pregnancy or environmental factors.

Undiagnosed parental carrier status for common genetic conditions such as thalassemia, sickle cell disease, spinomuscular atrophy, fragile X syndrome, cystic fibrosis, etc, also contributed to high birth defects in rural areas, Pawar added.

Fake COVID-19 vaccination camps

Instances of fake COVID-19 vaccination camps in Maharashtra and West Bengal had come to the notice of the Government of India, Pawar told the Rajya Sabha.

The health ministry had directed both state governments to investigate these incidences and take stringent legal and administrative actions so that these are not repeated in the future, Pawar said.

Cancer cases

The estimated number of cancer cases in India increased to 1.39 million in 2020, from 1.32 million in 2018, Pawar told the Rajya Sabha. This was according to the Indian Council of Medical Research’s National Cancer Registry Programme Report 2020.

The central government was implementing the Strengthening of Tertiary Care for Cancer scheme. Some 19 state cancer institutes and 20 tertiary care cancer centres had been approved under the scheme, Pawar added. 

Oxygen beds

There were a total of 425,981 oxygen supported isolation beds available as of July 23, 2021 for managing COVID-19 in India. This was much more than the 62,458 oxygen supported isolation beds that were available as on April 21, 2020 Pawar told the Rajya Sabha.

Type-1 Diabetes 

Type-1 Diabetes was more prevalent in Indian children, Pawar told the Rajya Sabha.  

The Government of India, with support from Unicef, had conducted the first-ever Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey from 2016 to 2018 in 30 states. The prevalence of diabetes was low among both children (1.2 per cent) and adolescents (0.7 per cent), according to the survey report, she added.

Sea water to potable water

Jitendra Singh, minister of state (independent charge) in the  Union ministry of science and technology and earth sciences told the Rajya Sabha that the Centre had formulated a scheme to convert sea water into potable water, keeping in view the continuous shortage of drinking water.

A proposal of the Lakshadweep administration for the establishment of six Low Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) plants, each with capacity of producing 0.15 million litres of potable water per day in the islands of Amini, Androth, Kadamat, Chetlat, Kalpeni and Kiltan was approved. The construction of the plants was in an advanced stage, Singh said.

Earlier, three desalination plants had been developed and demonstrated at Kavaratti, Agati and Minicoy. These were based on the LTTD technology indigenously developed by the National Institute of Ocean Technology, an autonomous body of the ministry of earth sciences. The capacity of each of these LTTD plants was 0.1 million litres of potable water per day, he added.

Rice fortification

The Government of India had approved the centrally sponsored pilot scheme on the fortification of rice and its distribution under the public distribution system for a period of three years beginning in 2019-20.

This had been done to address anaemia and micro-nutrient deficiency in the country. The total outlay of the scheme was Rs 174.64 crore, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, minister of state in the  Union ministry of rural development and consumer affairs, food and public distribution told the Lok Sabha.

The scheme was funded by the Government of India in the ratio of 90:10 for Northeastern, hilly and island states and in the ratio of 75:25 for the rest. The pilot scheme focused on 15 districts across 15 states, preferably one district per state, Jyoti said.

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