Indian Govt. defends PM photo on COVID vaccination certificates as ‘creating awareness’

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By Meetu Jain

NEW DELHI, 11 August 2021: The photograph of the Indian PM Narendra Modi on COVID vaccination certificates has been facing criticism from many quarters. Opposition ruled states Chattisgarh and Jharkhand have photographs of their respective Chief Ministers. And, Punjab has removed the PM’s photo from the certificates. The controversy seems to be unending.

Meanwhile, answering a question in the Rajya Sabha (upper house), Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar in a written reply defended the use of PM’s photo on the certificates being issued by the CoWIN as being standardized and confirming to WHO guidance, she said.

The minister was responding to a question on whether it is necessary and compulsory to print photographs of the prime minister on the certificate.

“Given the context of the pandemic, its evolving nature, and the fact that following of Covid-appropriate behaviors has emerged as one of the most critical measures for preventing the spread of disease.

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“The photograph along with the message of the prime minister in the vaccination certificates reinforces the message for creating awareness about the importance of following Covid-19 appropriate behavior even after vaccination, in the larger public interest,” Pawar said.

The issue seems to have troubled some Indians traveling overseas hard-pressed to explain to immigration officers as to why the PM’s photo was there and not that of the person vaccinated. A passenger at Frankfurt airport was detained because the photo on the certificate did not match that of the passenger.

Meanwhile, an alliance partner of the BJP in Bihar, Jitan Ram Manjhi, of the Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular had caused red faces earlier this year when he said like vaccination certificates, death certificates of Covid-19 victims should also carry the photograph of the country’s PM.

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Neeraj Nanda

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