After Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Centre is restoring its earlier policy of buying COVID-19 vaccines directly from the pharma companies and distributing them among the states, the Ministry of Finance has said the programme will cost around Rs 50,000 crore.
PM Modi announced on Monday that starting June 21, people over the age of 18 will be vaccinated free of cost. While 75 percent of the total vaccines produced will be reserved for the Centre, private sector hospitals will be allowed to buy the rest.
According to an NDTV report, the finance ministry said it had sufficient funds for the programme.
“We don’t need to go for the supplementary grants immediately as there are enough funds. We may have to go for this in the second round, near the winter session of Parliament. At present we have the money,” finance ministry sources said.
The sources also indicated that the government is no longer counting on foreign vaccines to meet its vaccine needs and will only procure doses from Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute of India and Biological-E, the report said.
The Centre’s talks with international manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna are reportedly stuck over the indemnity demand by the vaccine makers. The companies also demand that disputes in India related to their vaccines be allowed in US courts only.
The Mint had reported last week that the Centre had placed an advance order for 30 crore doses with Hyderabad-based Biological E.
As of June 6, 4,47,65,341 people (3.3 percent of total population) have been fully vaccinated, while 18,32,75,704 people (13.4 percent) have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
While presenting the Union Budget earlier this year, finance minister
had announced that Rs 35,000 crore had been allocated for COVID-19.