Sitharaman Slams Vaccine Nationalism, Calls for Tech Share

FM seeks review of TRIPS, provides Rs 3 lakh crore loan guarantee to MSMEs in Covid crisis

Stressing that there cannot be any vaccine nationalism, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharam on Monday, urged nations to share technologies on Covid vaccines amid the pandemic. She also pitched for examining Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement in the light of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Countries will have to be open about sharing vaccine-based technologies. The TRIPS agreement will have to be looked at in the context of the pandemic. There cannot be any more vaccine nationalism, countries will have to be flexible about it,” she said at the annual meet of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The TRIPS agreement is a legal pact between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It establishes minimum standards for regulation by national governments of different forms of intellectual property as applied to nationals of other WTO member nations. The agreement has been in force since January 1995.

Participating in a virtual seminar, Sitharaman said there is a need to have a global multilateral approach to deal with the Covid pandemic. Post pandemic, she said, “the future as I said, will have to be based on principles of openness, transparency, fairness, sustainability, and inclusiveness”.

As regards global climate action, she said, India is committed to all the Paris agreement-based commitments and it is well on a course to fulfill all those commitments. About efforts of the government to keep the wheels of the economy running during the pandemic, Sitharaman said the government extended financial assistance to various sectors.

Observing that MSMEs are the backbone of the economy, she said the government has extended financial assistance in terms of three lakh crore rupees loan guarantee to help them amid the pandemic.

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