India ‘stands out’ in fighting COVID-19 says Gita Gopinath



By developing two critically effective COVID-19 vaccines, India has improved its chances of fighting the pandemic very well.

On Monday, March 8, Chief Economist of the IMF Gita Gopinath had congratulated the Indian model of vaccine distribution, as she hailed the country for playing a very important role during the crisis by manufacturing and shipping the COVID-19 vaccines to several nations.

Gopinath made the comments in an interactive session during the Inaugural Dr. Hansa Mehta Lecture organized on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

“I also want to mention that India really stands out in terms of its vaccine policy. If you look at where exactly is one manufacturing hub for vaccines in the world – that will be India,” Gopinath said.

Gopinath lauded the Serum Institute of India, saying it produces the most number of vaccines in the world in a regular year and has been manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccine doses that are delivered to COVAX and then distributed to countries around the world.

“India has been at the forefront in fighting this pandemic,” she said, noting that India has been providing vaccines through grants to several of its neighbor countries, including Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar, and through commercial arrangements as well.

Gopinath was responding to a question on India, which is a vaccine hub of the world, and the role the country can play in contributing to global economic recovery.

Gopinath pointed out that India makes up about 7 percent of world GDP based on purchasing power parity terms.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected an impressive 11.5 percent growth rate for India in 2021, making the country the only major economy of the world to register double-digit growth this year amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Gopinath gave the keynote address at the Inaugural Dr. Hansa Mehta Lecture.

The lecture, named in the memory of the pioneering Indian reformer and educator, was organized virtually by India’s Permanent Mission to the UN and The United Nations Academic Impact.

Mehta had served as the Indian delegate to the UN Commission on Human Rights from 1947 to 1948 and is widely known for ensuring a more gender-sensitive language in the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UDHR.

Speaking at the lecture, Assistant-Secretary-General & Deputy Executive Director of UN Women Anita Bhatia described Mehta as an exceptional leader who was willing to take personal and professional risks, had the ability to speak truth to power, had the courage of her convictions and “most importantly, someone who had a simple and yet very powerful belief in the need for social, economic, and political justice for women.”

Bhatia said Mehta would be astonished to learn “how far we have to go” given that 25 percent of parliamentarians in the world only are women, only 14 countries in the world have gender-equal cabinets, less than 10 percent of heads of state are women and less than 10 percent of heads of government are women.

“If we are to achieve gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, we need to do so not just with women in mind, but women in the room and women at the table,” Bhatia said.

Under-Secretary-General Melissa Fleming, head of global communications for the United Nations, said Mehta built an enormously rich legacy during her life as a scholar, educator, feminist, social reformer and writer and is an “indispensable figure” to the history of the United Nations.