Lutyens appear poised to provide a promotional edge to Mamata Banerjee as the opposition face in the 2024 Loksabha Election. Otherwise, would they have provided misinformation regarding Kolkata’s vaccination data? On July 21, India Today tweeted an infographic showing 61.8% of Kolkata’s population had already been vaccinated. It claimed Kolkata was leading the way in Covid vaccination.
The National media claimed the Co-WIN Dashboard and Geographic Insights Dataverse of Harvard University to be the data source of their information. However, the data appeared blatantly false as total vaccination doses as shown by the Co-WIN dashboard on July 25 was 42,85,083 with the number of people receiving Dose 1 to be 31,58,254 and those receiving dose 2 as 11,26,829. As the current population of Kolkata is estimated at 14,974,073 as per world population review, only 28.61% of the City’s population was reported to be vaccinated by Co-WIN on July 25 while India Today claimed 61.8% of Kolkata population to have been vaccinated on July 21 itself. This implies, on July 21, the true percentage of the Kolkata population receiving the vaccine was even lesser than 28.61% in reality.
What could be the real reason behind this data anomaly between the Co-WIN dashboard and India Today’s infographic? Did the National media deliberately overstated Kolkata’s success to promote Banerjee as the ablest leader of the opposition? Not to forget this claim of India Today had been retweeted by many TMC leaders spreading it as public information. Is disseminating falsehood & wrong information about Covid vaccination amongst common gullible mass ethically viable? A legitimate argument.
Had 61.8% of Kolkata’s population been truly vaccinated, the total number of used doses would have been 61.8% of 14,974,073 = 92,53,977 while as on July 25, the number of used doses of Covid Vaccine in Kolkata was a mere 42,85,083 as per the Co-WIN dashboard. What’s this data anomaly indicative of and where did Geographic Insights Dataverse of Harvard University get such data from which was in gross mismatch with Co-WIN's? The matter needs the due attention of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Government of India. More so as this data work involved a foreign university like Harvard. What is this data mismatch all about in reality?
On July 15, Mamata Banerjee stated that Bengal's vaccination drive began on January 16, 2021 and 2.5 crore doses had been administered in the State over the last few months. She added that GOI had provided 2.12 crore doses free of cost, GOWB purchased 18 lakh on its own while the rest were procured by private entities. As per her assertion, there was no confusion in vaccine purchase details. Moreover, since vaccination is necessary to be mediated through Co-WIN application, no data mismatch is possible under all normal circumstances. In spite of that, why did India Today inform apparent falsehood? What’s the real reason? Portraying Mamata Banerjee larger than life? The right to raise questions is sacrosanct.
“Won’t Let Bengal Be Gujarat” repeatedly claimed West Bengal, Chief Minister. And Gujarat lagged much behind West Bengal in the rate of unemployment. Joblessness in West Bengal became 12.78 times higher than in Gujarat. While Gujarat had only 1.8% of her employable population unemployed, West Bengal had 22.1% of them jobless (CMIE). Mamata Banerjee’s State could beat Narendra Modi’s in unemployment. Was there any uproar from Lutyens’ media thereafter? No.