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Azim Premji bats for private sector participation in Covid vaccine drive

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on February 21, 2021

Azim Premji   -  BusinessLine

He is optimistic about achieving coverage of 500 million people within 60 days.

Private participation can bring down vaccines’ cost under mass vaccination, said Azim Premji, Founder, Chairman Wipro Limited.

Participating in the Post Budget 2021 interaction with the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, organised by BCIC on Sunday, Premji said “Vaccines were developed by the private sector in record time. Now it is time to participate with the government to effectively rollout. Yes, the government is doing its best it can, but I suggest that it supplement by involving the private parties.”

He further explained, “There is a possibility that we can get the Serum Institute to supply vaccines at about ₹300 per shot, and hospitals, private nursing homes can administer this at the cost of ₹100 a shot. So, within ₹400 a shot, it is possible to do mass vaccination of the population.”

Once again, pitching for a timely rolling out of vaccines, Wipro founder said, “I think if the government were to engage the private industry, we can be sure of achieving a coverage of 500 million people within 60 days. That's practicality. And I think it is very important that the government considers this as a major supplementation to its effort.”

Work from home

Talking about Covid-19 and the changing workplace, especially the work from home (WFH), Premji said, “Now a hybrid model of work has emerged. Here earlier during the pandemic, more than 90 per cent of the workforce in the technology industry worked from home, and even now, they continue to do so.”

Pointing out to the hybrid model, he highlighted the comparative advantage. “It will drive inclusive growth, better participation from all parts of the country and a greater number of women who would have the flexibility to work from home.”

“Technology is becoming the lifeline for us as individuals and also businesses. If there was any doubt, the year 2020 showed how fundamental technology has become,” he added.

Referring to his pet subject – philanthropy, Premji said, “The culture of philanthropy is as basic to India as India itself. Charity and philanthropy has always been a part of India's culture and tradition.”

Component makers

Ravi Raghavan, CEO and MD Bharat Fritz Werner, said, “Budget-21 has given confidence to mid-size companies having ₹300 crore turnover to look at spending to the tune of ₹100-150 crore on expansion in the near term.”

Urging the Finance Minister, Raghavan requested the demand of component makers supplying parts to key sectors to also be considered in the PLI scheme announced in the Budget citing that many are into manufacturing, supply and also do service."

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Published on February 21, 2021
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