CM says it was the States’ legitimate expectations, as budgetary provision of ₹35,000 crore was made in the Budget Estimates
Terming the Centre’s policy in Phase 3 of the COVID-19 vaccination throughout the country as “inherently unfair,” Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting that the Centre procure and supply the entire required quantity of COVID vaccine for administering all groups, including those in the age group of 18-45.
In his letter, a copy of which was released to the media, Mr. Palaniswami referred to the Centre’s policy, which has given the States the responsibility to procure and administer the vaccine to the people in the age group of 18 to 45 years.
“Such a differential price mechanism is inherently unfair since it places a higher financial burden on States. It is also iniquitous since the State governments have considerably less fiscal resources at their command than the Central government,” he said.
As the vaccines would have to be procured by the State governments at pre-determined prices from the manufacturers, it would be distinctly different from the price that the Centre has been paying for the vaccines supply, he said, and pointed out that some manufacturers have already announced a higher increased rate for procurement by State governments.
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“Further, since the budgetary provision of ₹35,000 crore has been made in the Budget Estimates for 2021-22 for the COVID-19 vaccination programme, States have a legitimate expectation that the Government of India would supply the COVID-19 vaccine Phase 3,” the Chief Minister said.
Further, the Centre could also explore alternative sources of supply of vaccines, including possible imports to ensure that the vaccine roll-out takes place across the country smoothly and expeditiously in the coming weeks, Mr. Palaniswami suggested.