New Delhi, Oct 27:
Union Minister Pratap Sarangi has said that all people of the country will be given free COVID vaccine, amidst the demand by opposition parties in the country for it and not only in poll-bound Bihar as announced by the BJP.
The BJP announcement of free COVID vaccine for Bihar, where assembly polls begin this week, had kicked up a controversy with the opposition parties tearing into the NDA government alleging that the ruling party was using the pandemic for political reasons. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said the announcement was in order as it was an election manifesto announcement.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that all people will be provided free of cost vaccines. An estimated Rs. 500 odd will be spent on vaccination of each person, Sarangi told reporters after addressing a campaign meeting for the November 3 assembly by-poll in Balasore in Odisha on Sunday.
PM Modi had in a televised adddress to the nation on October 20 had said that Indian scientists are in the process of developing several vaccines that are at different stages of clinical trials and the results seem encouraging.
Sarangi, the union minister of state for animal husbandry, dairy, fisheries and micro, small and medium enterprises spoke in reply to question raised by Odisha Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister, RP Swain. Swain had sought clarification from Dharmendra Pradhan and Sarangi, the two union ministers from Odisha questioning them for their silence on their party BJP’s stand on free COVID-19 vaccination for the people of the state along the lines of the one being promised in Bihar.
The governments of Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Puduchchery have already announced free of cost COVID vaccines for the people of their states, while Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has demanded free vaccine for all citizens across the country.
In Maharashtra districts across the state, have begun a process of creating a database of healthcare workers from public and private institutes, following the Government of India guidelines to commence the preparation for a vaccine rollout, possibly by early next year.
Odisha Government has signed an agreement with a vaccine manufacturer and is committed to extend the facility to all people of the state. However Odisha government is yet to make clear whether, the government will provide the vaccine to the people free of cost.