PM: Centre takes over vaccine supply for 18+ to States again; Free ration for 80 crores till Deeepawali
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi today announced that as it happened before May 1, 2021 thus again from June 21, 2021 Centre would provide free vaccines to all the States.
In a 32-minute address, Modi made another important announcement that 80 crore Indians would be provided free ration till Deepawali in November.
"After we de-centralised certain vaccination processes; many started demanding going back to earlier centralised structure," PM said while announcing that the decision has been reversed and vaccines will be given free of cost to all Indians above the age group of 18 from June 1.
In all, 75% of vaccine supply by its manufacturers to India would be picked up and delivered free to States by the Centre. Those who wish to go to private hospitals could do so too as the latter could buy the remaining 25% from the manufacturers. They could charge at the most Rs 150 extra, said the prime minister.
However, the private hospitals will continue to get 25 per cent doses of vaccines made in the country. "The private hospitals can continue to procure 25 per cent of vaccines, but their service charge capped at Rs 150 per dose over the fixed price of the vaccine, the Prime Minister said.
PM said that India's fight against COVID-19 has been a continuous process and lauded the scientists for developing two vaccines within a span of a year.
PM said that 23 crore people have been vaccinated so far and added that the COVID-19 protocol is the biggest weapon against the deadly pandemic. "Vaccine is like a protective shield. Vaccine demand worldwide is much higher than vaccine supply," he further added.
To increase vaccine availability, the process of procuring vaccines from abroad has been sped up. Experts have also expressed concerns about children. In this direction, the trial of two vaccines is underway. Research is being conducted for a nasal vaccine in the country, said the prime minister.
Healthcare is a state subject and that is why a new beginning was made, after States clamoured for a role in vaccination strategy, says PM while justifying Centre's move to ask states to procure vaccines.
Vaccine supply will be increasing in the coming days. Seven companies in the country are producing different vaccines, 3 vaccine trials are at an advanced stage.
If you look at the history of the last 50-60 years, it used to take India decades to get the vaccines from abroad. Vaccine work used to be completed abroad, even then vaccination work could not start in our country.
New health infrastructure has been developed in the 1.5 years with COVID hospitals, ventilators beds, to preparing a network of testing labs. During the 2nd wave in April-May, demand for medical oxygen increased at an unprecedented rate.
This is the deadliest pandemic in the past 100 years. The modern world has not seen such a pandemic.
Further, The government has decided to extend Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana till Diwali. 80 crore poor will be provided free ration, under the scheme, says PM Modi.
"Till November, 80 crore Indians will get a certain quantity of foodgrains per month," Modi said. The decision has been taken so that poor people do not go hungry, he added.
As part of the scheme, 5 kg free rice or wheat are provided to each member of the family, along with providing 1 kg pulses per month,
The government announced a similar measure last year and claimed a total of Rs 1.5 lakh crore were set aside for the scheme.
The scheme restarted in April this year was announced for the months of May and June at an estimated expenditure of Rs 26,000 crore. The initiative will now continue till November to people in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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