Saturday, September 18, 2021

Free jabs for all above 18: PM assures the nation

  • Narendra Modi addresses the nation
  • Centre takes back vaccination job from States
  • Plans to vaccinate 80 per cent of the people by November
  • Free vaccination at Govt. hospitals from June 21
  • 80 crore people to get free ration till Deepavali

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on Monday evening said all the people who are above 18 years will be given vaccine free by the government. He said the Centre is taking over the responsibility of providing vaccine to the people back from the States. He said as health is a State subject, the centre thought the vaccination has to be handled by the States, but problems have cropped up the Centre has decided to take over the responsibility.

The Centre is taking back total control of vaccination now. It will take over the 25 per cent doses assigned to States and this will be implemented in the two weeks. From June 21, the Centre would provide free vaccines to States,” Modi announced. June 21 happens to be International Yoga Day. The Centre would buy 75 percent of the vaccines produced by the companies and the 25 per cent can be purchased by private hospitals. The private hospitals can charge the cost of the vaccine plus Rs. 150 toward service charge. The 75 per cent vaccine produced will be given free to the people. Centre will pay to the companies. The process of buying vaccine from companies in other countries also has been fast-tracked, he assured.  So far, the Centre gave free vaccine to frontline workers and those who are above 45 years of age.

Modi has defended his Oxygen policy and vaccine policy without mincing words. They have been criticized by opposition parties and courts. There was double pricing so far. The Centre used to pay less than the States to buy vaccine. Because of good intentions and clear policies, the Centre’s vaccine policy has been successful. When he came to power in 2014, India has vaccine coverage of 60 per cent and it has been raised to 90 per cent since then, he claimed. Had we not had “Make In India Policy,” can you imagine where a country like India would have been, he asked the nation. India had waited for decades to get vaccine from abroad, the wealthy countries would give India vaccine after they give it to all their people first, this is not the case now, he claimed.

The Supreme Court last week called the Centre’s policy of giving vaccine free for those who are above 45 years and charging who are above 18 but below 45 as arbitrary. He asked the Centre to place roadmap till December 2021. The apex court has asked the Centre to furnish complete vaccination policy. It has to be seen if the prime minister’s address would satisfy the court.  

Prime Minister announced that 80 crore of the poor people in the country would be given free ration till Deepavali since the government does not want any poor person to sleep without food. He also said 80 percent of the people in the country would be vaccinated by November end.

K. Ramachandra Murthy
Founder & Editor

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