Chavan hits out at Centre for charging for COVID-19 jabs

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday questioned the decision of the Centre to charge for COVID-19 vaccines in the second phase that started on Monday.

“In the budget speech FM @nsitharaman announced Rs. 35,000 cr for the vaccination drive. With that amount Govt can procure and distribute 1.5 billion doses covering 75 crore population. Why is the @narendramodi Govt charging for vaccines then?” asked Mr. Chavan on Twitter.

On Monday, the government had announced that people over the age of 45 years with co-morbidities or those above 60 years can get inoculated at a designated center at a price of ₹250 per dose.

“Unfortunately, despite lofty budgetary announcements and India being the largest supplier of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Modi government is digging into the common man’s pocket,” Mr. Chavan said in a separate statement.

The Congress leader said beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Aarogya Yojana (Aayushman Bharat) must be given free COVID-19 vaccines.

“If budgetary provisions are made then why charge common people?” asked the senior Congress leader, adding, “Large countries such as the U.S., the U.K. or Canada are providing free vaccines to their citizens either through insurance schemes or by budgetary provisions. I demand that all beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (Aayushman Bharat) must be given free COVID-19 vaccines”.

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