In the middle of the ongoing controversy over the global health body WHO's report on India's Covid-19 death toll, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter on Friday and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "lying". He also urged the BJP-led central government to support the kin of those who succumbed to the deadly virus by ₹4 lakh ex gratia.
Sharing a report by the World Health Organization that says 'India has reported the highest number of Covid deaths,' he tweeted: "47 lakh Indians died due to the Covid pandemic. NOT 4.8 lakh as claimed by the Govt. Science doesn't LIE. Modi does. Respect families who've lost loved ones. Support them with the mandated ₹4 lakh compensation."
Meanwhile, the Centre on Thursday rejected the health organisation's report criticising the WHO's methodology for calculating deaths as "statistically unsound and scientifically questionable".
"India has been consistently objecting to the methodology adopted by WHO to project excess mortality estimates based on mathematical models. Despite India's objection to the process, methodology and outcome of this modelling exercise, WHO has released the excess mortality estimates without adequately addressing India's concerns," the government said in a statement, within minutes of the WHO report's release.
As per data shared by the health ministry, India's death toll on Friday stood at 5. 24 lakh. Going by WHO's estimates, India's true death toll due to Covid-19 is 10 times more than the 481,000 Covid-19 fatalities for a period till 31 December 2021. Globally, there were close to 15 million deaths in 2020 and 2021, the WHO said, roughly thrice the known death toll.
As per the WHO's report, excess mortality is calculated as "the difference between the number of deaths that have occurred and the number that would be expected in the absence of the pandemic based on data from earlier years."