Vax in Meghalaya lowest in the Northeast

Editor,

A front-page story in the Shillong Times, July 8, 2021, quoted a TV channel as reporting that Meghalaya has the poorest vaccination record in the Northeast, but that the figures were not verified.

The table below takes data from the CoWIN dashboard of the Government of India, updated as of July 8, 2021. It shows that the percentage of fully vaccinated persons in our state is indeed the lowest among the Northeast states. The table shows the percentage of first and second doses in the eligible population, whereas the TV channel based some of their percentages on the entire population including children.

If the percentage of vaccinated persons is calculated for the entire population the percentage figures in the table will be about one-third lower, as the percentage of children in India is about 35%. The entire population is used as the base figure if one wishes to make an assessment of herd immunity, which is not the purpose of the table provided here.

Some assumptions have been made. The eligible population (18 years and older) is based on the population pyramid of India, divided along age ranges. The age range in the standard pyramid (ie 0-19 years), slightly overlaps the eligibility age for vaccination. The same pyramid is assumed for all states. Most available statistics for the adult population in India refer to the age range 15-64 years, as planners and economists use this to indicate ‘working’ adults.

Once again, Meghalaya is last. But this time the government is not to blame. Vaccine refusal seems to be a factor. The low figure for full vaccination pertains to the older population, indicating that hesitancy is higher among the older age groups.

Yours etc.,

Glenn Kharkongor,

Via email

Behdeinkhlam festival amidst Covid?

Editor,

Even while Covid 19 cases in Jaintia Hills are on the rise, the Deputy Commissioner, West Jaintia Hills still granted permission to the Seiñ Raij Jowai to conduct Behdeinkhlam festival when all the religious places, weddings, etc are still restricted or closed. For reasons best known to him he even released an order to close all the shops in Iawmusiang Jowai from July 9, 2021 so as to enable them to conduct the festival smoothly. Shops selling essential commodities are open once a week for people to buy essential commodities but this week they have to remain closed because of the festival. I am not against the Seiñraj or anyone but if all other public, religious and social functions are still not allowed mainly to avoid overcrowding and to limit the spread of Covid 19 why not Behdeinkhlam? The idea of allowing 40 people from each locality to participate does not mean there will not be overcrowding because there are around 6 to 10 localities so 40×10=400 people. Hence what’s the point of ordering a lockdown and allowing essential shops to open just once a week when the Deputy Commissioner is still granting permission to the Seiñ Raij to organise this Behdeinkhlam festival.

Yours etc.,

Name withheld on request

Via email

End red-tapism for quick service delivery

Editor

Even with the advent of internet age, the government public schemes are delayed in reaching the beneficiaries in urban and rural areas. Sometimes the schemes reach after many years.The main reasons are the traditional age old infamous procedural red-tapism, the irresponsibility, laziness, sluggishness, procrastination of duty and chronic absence from duty by government employees responsible for pushing files in the secretariat, directorate, district and the block levels. Because of similar stumbling blocks the Chief Minister of our neighbouring state, Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma, has specifically asked the top officers of his state from the rank of Secretary level to the Chief Secretary to jointly meet and devise ways and means to remove the impediments so that the government can deliver the various schemes to the masses expeditiously and at the shortest time possible, so that the beneficiaries stand to gain and development takes place fast in the state.

Similarly, we here in Meghalaya, have witnessed for the last 49 years this archaic monster of red-tapism and similar stumbling blocks standing in the way of fast-paced development in our state. We urge the present MDA government under the leadership of the NPP to do away with the archaic procedural practices, red-tapism and other anti-speed delivery systems. If these ills are removed the pace of development in the state will speed up. How we long to see this in our state befitting the occasion of celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Meghalaya’s statehood in 2023.

Yours etc.,

Philip Marwein,

Editor, Youth Today,

Via email

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