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Coronavirus corruption in Boris Johnson’s Britain & coronavirus catastrophe in Modi’s India (E1017)

On this episode of Going Underground, we speak to Prof. Guy Standing. He discusses his new book, ‘The Corruption of Capitalism’, the shocking revelations made by Dominic Cummings about disastrous coronavirus pandemic mismanagement by the Boris Johnson government, arguable neglect and chronic corruption, the revolving door between big finance and politics in the UK, the financial sector’s tremendous control and influence over the British economy, the mainstream media being a part of the rentier economy system, how big financial companies groom people to go into politics to ensure favourable policy, why work doesn’t pay in the UK and how the economy directs most wealth to the capitalist class, why the furlough scheme was fundamentally unfair, the prospect of economic catastrophe coming out of the pandemic for the working class killing more people than coronavirus in the UK, mass privatisation of public services due to neoliberal economic doctrine and much more!

Finally, we speak to Mahesh Zagade, former principal secretary to the government of Maharashtra. He discusses the coronavirus catastrophe in India where over 326,000 people have died from the disease, Narendra Modi’s failure to secure enough vaccine supplies for India despite it being one of the pharmaceutical production hubs of the world, the Indian variant and the causes of its ‘black fungus’ in some patients and more! Afshin Rattansi challenges him on the Indian government’s neoliberal approach to the pandemic, arguably prioritising big pharma coronavirus vaccine profits thanks to contracts with foreign countries as hundreds of thousands continue to die and go without the vaccine in India.

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STATEMENT ADDITION:

Indian High Commission spokesperson: "India’s domestic vaccination programme started in January 2021 and within a few days, we also started assisting our immediate neighbours. Quite appropriately, Vaccine Maitri began in the immediate neighbourhood. The extended neighbourhood followed thereafter including nations of the Gulf. We were also mindful of our obligation to fulfil contractually binding agreements both bilateral and also via COVAX -the UN run initiative to vaccinate the poor and vulnerable. 

"By 25 May, India had supplied over 66 million doses of home-produced vaccine to 95 countries (including 10 million gratis, others under contractual obligations or through COVAX), and had vaccinated her population with 196.4 million doses, setting a global benchmark of being the fastest nation to do so, having administered 170 million doses in 114 days (the US took 115 days, and China needed 119 days).

At the end of February we had less than 10,000 cases a day. Therefore, sending vaccines to some vulnerable regions was a pragmatic decision in the interest of welfare and well-being of humanity.

"India has currently approved three vaccines - Covaxin of Bharat Biotech, Covishield of Serum Institute and Sputnik V. India, being the largest producer of vaccines in the world, has the capacity to ramp up production by speedily licensing the indigenously developed Covaxin to other producers. We are also pursuing procurement of 510 million doses by the end of August 2021 and, between September and December 2021, we anticipate the procurement of over 2 billion doses, which should be enough to fully vaccinate everyone above 18 years in India."

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