Fact Check

Indian Ventilator Manufacturer Rebuts Rahul Gandhi’s Claims – Is There a Lobby Impeding Indian Companies?

ventilator malfunction instances

Rahul Gandhi and a section of the media got a factual rebuttal on their claim that the ventilators purchased using PM Cares fund from AgVa are sub-standard. Congress cited a few media reports to argue that ventilators are faulty.

Professor Diwakar Vaish, the owner of AgVa company on June 7, 2020 gave a demonstration of the ventilator system and also gave a factual account of what really happened in the instances of reported ventilator ‘malfunction’ instances in Delhi and Mumbai. Here are the main points from his interview to ANI.

  • LNJP Hospital in Delhi did not reject AgVa’s ventilator. They said AgVa’s ventilators do not have BIPAP and CPAP. But later they sent AgVa an e-mail confirming that their ventilators did have BIPAP and CPAP.
  • In Mumbai, JJ Hospital and St George Hospital got the installation done through a third-party, and the installation was not done in a proper manner. It is like using diesel for vehicle meant for petrol.
  • On May 26, AgVa’s engineers went to address the issue. What the hospitals did before that they do not know. Prof Vaish went there on June 30 and gave them a demonstration. It was working then and he claims to have a video recording that it is working on patients.

Malicious Design Behind Allegations?

While giving the above clarification, the founder of the AgVa said that while it costs between Rs 10-12 lakh for a ventilator, his company is giving it for Rs 1.5 lakh with the support of indigenous investors. This has incensed the international supply lobby, according to him.

A simple google search makes it clear that, as far as the pricing is concerned, the claim is not exaggerated. Of course, they come in different configurations and different prices. But some are priced heavily as well on e-commerce portals. So, one can’t make a comparison of price without expertise and blame that the present prices of acquisition are high.

It should be noted that according to estimates only 40,000 plus ventilators are available in India in all these years after Independence. Now PM Cares is adding 50,000 ventilators to hospital infrastructure in a few months’ time.

Since Rahul Gandhi is trying to blame and suspect others, let’s visit the timeline of UPA years to have a perspective of how big a shift today’s India is making in terms of ventilator facilities. A few news snippets before 2014 dateline will help to understand.

The effort to supply hospitals with Make in India ventilators during the crisis is set to change the condition for better. Once the domestic demand is met, India can be a supplier to the global market.

Is there a possibility that controversies on Make in India ventilators are actually pushed by lobbies aiming to block India’s progress in the global market? That is the question we leave for the readers to ponder over.