17.56 cr doses of free vaccines provided to states: Anurag Thakur | India News
MoS Finance Anurag Thakur (File photo)
NEW DELHI: State Finance Minister Anurag Singh Thakur said on Sunday that the government has so far provided 17.56 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccine to states and union territories for inoculation of people of all age groups and that they will be given doses of 46 lakh in the next three days.
Thakur’s comments came in response to the leader of Congress Mallikarjun khargeletter to the prime minister Narendra modi urging him to use 35 billion rupees allocated in the Union budget guarantee a free vaccination for all citizens instead of the current multi-price system for several users.
Based in Pune Serum Institute of India Covishield is supplying the Center for 150 rupees a dose, while to the states for 300 rupees a dose. Private hospitals get it at twice the state price of Rs 600.
Whereas, the manufacturer of Covaxin Bharat Biotech it has priced its vaccine at 150 rupees a dose for the Center, 600 rupees a dose for state governments and 1200 rupees a dose for private hospitals.
Both anti-Covid vaccines are given in two doses.
Calling for free inoculation, the opposition leader in Rajya Sabha Kharge in his letter said that Parliament had allocated Rs 35 billion in the Union budget to guarantee free vaccines for all.
He also urged the prime minister to immediately call an all-party meeting to collectively forge a holistic plan to address the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thakur, dispelling claims of vaccine shortages in states, said 72 lakh doses are still available in states and union territories.
On the additional supply of vaccines, he said that “1.5 lakhs doses of Sputnik V have already reached India and RDIF has also partnered with local Indian companies for bulk production.
In a series of tweets, the minister highlighted various measures taken by the government to increase the supply of medicines and liquid medical oxygen, add more beds and distribute foreign aid to various states to combat the pandemic.
The minister emphasized that India is running the fastest and largest vaccination campaign in the world and that 15 million people have been dosed in the past three months.
“The Government of India provides COVID vaccines free of charge to those aged 45 and over and to all frontline workers,” Thakur said.
On the exemption of vaccines from the goods and services tax (GST), the minister said that a nominal GST of five percent is in the interest of the national vaccine manufacturer and citizens.
If a full GST exemption is granted, vaccine manufacturers would not be able to offset their input taxes and would pass them on to the final consumer or citizen by increasing the price, he added.
“The five percent GST rate ensures that the manufacturer can use ITC and, in the event of an ITC overflow, claim a refund. GST exemption for the vaccine would be counterproductive without benefiting the consumer,” said a tweet from Thakur.
He also said that the government has provided a full exemption from customs duties, including the integrated GST, which is now available for all COVID relief material imported by the Indian Red Cross for free distribution in the country to help contain the spread.
India recorded more than four lakhs of cases in a 24-hour span for the fourth day in a row on Sunday. According to Union Ministry of HealthIn that period, 4,03,738 new cases of COVID-19 were registered, raising the national count to 2,22,96,414.
The death toll rose to 2.42,362 with 4,092 deaths a day, according to data released Sunday.