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Higher vaccine pricing for States ‘iniquitous’, ‘inherently unfair’: TN CM writes to PM

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on April 26, 2021

Edappadi K Palaniswami   -  The Hindu

The differential pricing of Covid-19 vaccine, which makes it costlier for States, is “inherently unfair” represented the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami in a letter to the Prime Minister.

He requested the Centre to procure and supply the entire quantity of Covid vaccine required to immunise all eligible persons including those in the age group of 18-45.

In the letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister said that the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s new policy gives the States the responsibility to procure and administer vaccines to those in the age group of 18 to 45. This vaccine would be procured by the State governments at pre-determined prices from the manufacturers. But the price would be distinctly different from that paid by the Government of India.

‘Financial burden’

Some manufacturers have already announced a higher rate for procurement by State Governments. 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.

Further, since ₹35,000 crore has been provided for 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.

The Centre could also explore alternative sources of supply including imports to ensure that the vaccine roll out takes place across the country smoothly and expeditiously in the coming weeks, he said in the letter.

Published on April 26, 2021

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