Successful Covid-19 vaccine roll-out will instil investors’ confidence in India, says SK Narvar
Capital India Finance Corp Chairman SK Narvar believes that India’s response to the pandemic has demonstrated our ability to successfully scale up our research, manufacturing, and distribution abilities at ultra-short notices. All this will help instil investors’ confidence in India’s potential as a global manufacturing hub.
India’s inoculation drive against novel coronavirus – the largest in the world – kicked off on 16th January 2021. It marks a momentous period in our fight against the pandemic and marks the beginning of the end.
We speak to SK Narvar, Chairman, Capital India Finance Corp, a first-generation business leader and nationalist, about his thoughts on vaccine development and distribution. SK Narvar believes that India’s response to the pandemic has demonstrated our ability to successfully scale up our research, manufacturing, and distribution abilities at ultra-short notices.
SK Narvar says that these will be essential factors in instilling investor confidence in India’s potential as a global R&D, science, and manufacturing hub.
Ques: The world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination drive has begun on 16th January 2021. What are your comments on the development?
SK Narvar: I want to congratulate the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his entire team on this tremendous achievement. In my opinion, the manner in which the government handled the situation – from implementing stringent lockdown measures to announcing supportive policies to revive the economy from the pandemic – is a remarkable case study in good governance during a crisis. I’m confident that the government will lead the country through the end of the pandemic successfully. Private players like Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute of India, and other players like Zydus Cadila, Sputnik V, Biological E, and Gennova need a special mention as proud contributors.
Ques: Both the vaccines, COVIDSHIELD and COVAXIN, are being manufactured in India. This is a significant boost to the Made in India programme and the government’s push for self-reliance. Wouldn’t you agree?
SK Narvar: Absolutely! At the beginning of the pandemic, India imported PPE kits, masks, ventilators, and testing kits from around the world. But in the past nine months, we are among the largest manufacturers of these devices globally. Not just that, we are also manufacturing the COVID vaccines at the most affordable rates globally. Our response to the pandemic has demonstrated our ability to successfully scale up our R&D, manufacturing, and distribution abilities at ultra-short notices. Going ahead, these will be essential factors in instilling investor confidence in our nation’s potential as a global manufacturing hub.
Ques: COVID-19 vaccines have been developed in a span of a few short months. How do you address the resulting apprehensions?
SK Narvar: While the apprehensions are understandable, it is essential to acknowledge that we are amidst a pandemic with billions of lives at stake. We need to trust our experts’ competencies to emerge victorious from the ongoing crisis. Even though Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech’s vaccines have been developed in a few months, the scientists have taken utmost precaution in ensuring their safety. They have followed global norms in the vaccine development. Covishield is the local version of the Oxford-Astra Zeneca COVID19 vaccine that has been accepted and launched globally. Through due scientific and medical research globally, the vaccines have been certified safe and effective. So far, there are no reports of any severe side effects. This is the time to show our support to the scientific and medical community by accepting these vaccines.
Ques: Do you think India will face any challenges in implementation of vaccination campaign?
SK Narvar: First, let me state, India has handled the pre-vaccine surge of COVID-19 spread quite efficiently. For example, ordinary citizens and senior leaders, such as our Honourable VP Shri Venkaiah Naidu to Union Home Minister, Shri Amit Shah, have successfully recovered from this pandemic. While it is a challenge to vaccinate over 1.35 billion citizens, I think we have the competencies to execute the task at hand.
As the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointed out during his interactions with the Chief Ministers of different states recently, our country has vast experience in running universal immunization programmes against diseases like Measles and Rubella. We also conduct the world’s largest elections every five years and provide voting facilities to every nook and corner of the country. The government intends to use the booth level strategy to make the nationwide inoculation drive successful. I think it is the right strategy.