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Centralise vaccine purchase, start free, universal vaccination: Opposition to Modi

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 12, 2021

Vaccination in progress at Jahangirpuri in New Delhi   -  The Hindu

Leaders jointly urge Centre to step up fight against pandemic

Twelve Opposition political parties have jointly written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to centralise vaccines procurement from all available sources – global and domestic.

The leaders, including Sonia Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee, Sitaram Yechury, MK Stalin, Uddhav Thackeray, HD Deve Gowda and others have also demanded the Centre to immediately begin a free, universal mass vaccination campaign across the country.

They asked Modi to invoke compulsory licensing to expand domestic vaccine production. They said the Centre must spend the budgetary allocation of ₹35,000 crore for the vaccines. “Stop Central Vista construction. Use the allocated money for procuring oxygen and vaccines, instead,” they demanded in the letter, referring to the redevelopment of the Central administrative buildings in the capital.

‘Use PM Cares fund’

They also suggested that all money held in the “unaccounted private trust fund, PM Cares” be used to buy more vaccines, oxygen and medical equipment. They said all jobless must get at least ₹6,000 per month cash assistance, free foodgrains distributed to the needy from over one crore tonnes in stock in Central godowns and urged the three farm laws be repealed. The leaders said repealing the farm laws will “protect lakhs of our annadatas becoming victims of the pandemic, so that they can continue to produce food to feed the Indian people”.

“Though it has not been the practice of your office or government, we would appreciate a response to our suggestions in the interests of India and our people,” they added in the letter.

They said the Covid-19 pandemic has assumed unprecedented dimensions of a human catastrophe. “We have repeatedly in the past drawn your attention, independently and jointly, to the various measures that are absolutely imperative for the Central government to undertake and implement. Unfortunately, your government has either ignored or refused all these suggestions. This only compounded the situation to reach such an apocalyptic human tragedy,” they said and urged the Centre to act on their suggestions on a war footing.

Published on May 12, 2021

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