Tag: Netherlands

Collapsed government in Netherlands: PM Rutte submits cabinet resignation over child welfare fraud scandal

Collapsed government in Netherlands: PM Rutte submits cabinet resignation over child welfare fraud scandal

Child welfare fraud scandal: After thousands of families were wronged in an unparalleled way, Dutch government led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte has submitted resignation of the entire Cabinet to the king. 

The decision came at a crucial time during Covid-19 pandemic as thousands of families were wrongfully accused of child welfare fraud and were told to pay the money back. The MPs decided that the families, mostly of the immigrant status, had suffered an “unparalleled wrong” and were left powerless and in dire situation by the tax officials, judges, civil servants and politicians. This led to the families fall into financial instability and ruckus. 

Rutte said, “Innocent people have been criminalized and their lives ruined. The buck stops here.” He added that the responsibility of the scandal laid entirely on his Cabinet. 

The decision was taken unanimously during a cabinet meeting at The Hague. The timing is especially critical as Netherlands is under strict lockdown amid increased cases of Covid-19 infection. Until parliamentary elections take place in March, the government is going to take role of caretaker to tackle the pandemic crisis. Economics Minister Eric Wiebes has, however, resigned with immediate effect due to his significant role in the scandal. 

Child Welfare Fraud was widespread in Netherlands as parents were labeled as ‘fraud’ over trivial errors like missed signatures on paperwork and were then forced to pay back thousands of euros given by government to compensate the childcare cost. Families were left ruined and aidless by the system. 

With families scattered and relationships disintegrated under impact of the fraud, many mothers have shared their plight tearfully of having to face the financial and emotional anguish after they were targeted by the officials. 

Scandal is said to have started in 2012 with as many as 26,000 people being involved. 

Tax department, last year, had admitted that as many as 11,000 people were scrutinized vehemently due to their dual citizenship. This has further questioned the long going speculation that ethnic minorities in Netherlands are discriminated and targeted by those in power. 

What Has Kept Netherlands From Corona Vaccine Inoculation Drive?

What Has Kept Netherlands From Corona Vaccine Inoculation Drive?

Corona Vaccine Inoculation Drive: Netherlands’ healthcare system is so gripped in bureaucracy that it is finding it difficult to justify the eminent delay in the provision of vaccinations to the Dutch.  The country has started to receive a trickle of the vaccine that was already being used in the UK for inoculations. 

An emergency debate in the parliament recently saw the opposition blaming the government for the eminent delays. This comes as a surprise because the country is well known for excellent health care budgets and a healthy life-work index. Apparently, the health care facilities in Netherlands have not been able to manage the surging number of cases of corona virus infected patients. 

The Dutch Health Minister, Hugo De Jonge has justified the delays, as Dutch choice to ‘go slow and pay it safe’ than act hastily as the UK did by cutting corners and wishing for a quick solution.  The EU Commission took rather long to zero on the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccination. 

This week, Mr. Jonge changed his stance and accepted that ‘over-agility’ could cost Dutch lives after all. Dutch was banking on the Astra Zeneca Oxford led vaccine whose efficacy rate varies between 60-90percent. It can be stored in normal refrigeration. Netherlands had not made any arrangements to accommodate the next better vaccine candidate, Pfizer or Moderna for that matter. The latter had arrived in end of December. 

Infrastructural and then IT system glitches is what has delayed the Netherlands to start a country wide inoculation drive. They now plan to start theirs from January 18, 2021. 

Netherlands was one of the few nations to have used rather relaxed lockdown norms. Their mask mandatory ruling has only been put into effect in December. The country is now fighting record high number of contraction rates. The first to be inoculated will be health care workers. The Dutch health ministry has confirmed that an initial 30,000 vaccines will be made available for a select group of healthcare workers.

The eminent delay has been attributed to primitive IT systems that are now being upgraded. Also, the ministry has confirmed that they are spending energy in training call-centre staff on the scripts to use with people booking their vaccinations. 

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