Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation at 5 PM today.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) tweeted the announcement.
Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi will address the nation at 5 PM today, 7th June.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) June 7, 2021
The Prime Minister’s address comes at a time Covid cases are on the wane after a deadly surge in April-May and parts of the country are emerging from strict lockdowns.
Reports suggest PM Modi will speak on his government’s vaccination policy, which has been criticized by states and experts and has also been questioned by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court last week called the centre’s liberalized policy of free vaccines for people who are 45 and above, and paid doses for the 18-44 group, “arbitrary and irrational”.
Flagging several other flaws — including shortage of vaccine doses and problems faced by rural people in accessing vaccines — the court asked the centre to review its vaccination policy and “place on record a roadmap of projected availability of vaccines till 31 December 2021”. The Centre was asked to furnish complete details on its vaccination policy, including all documents and file notings, and also clarify how Rs 35,000 crore announced in the Budget was used in procuring vaccines.
The Supreme Court also asked states to clarify whether they would be vaccinating people free of cost.
PM Modi is expected to give details on all these points.
The Centre’s decisions on vaccines were seen to fall short when India was devastated by the sheer scale of Covid cases in the second wave in March-April. The government had to pause exports of Covid shots under its “Vaccine Maitri” programme and scrambled to procure more doses to tackle shortage in the country even as it opened vaccinations to all adults from May 1.
The slow roll-out has become a big concern as experts warn of a third wave of Covid.
On Saturday, the Centre defended its new vaccine policy and said media reports suggesting inequities in distribution of doses were “inaccurate and speculative”. It said the policy had reduced the “operational stress” on state-run vaccination facilities.