What is the News?
The government of India has announced a revised Vaccine Procurement Policy and also several relief measures to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
About Revised Vaccine Procurement Policy:
- The Central Government will go back to a system of centralised procurement of vaccines against COVID-19.
- Under this, the central government will now buy 75% of the total production of the vaccine producers and provide it to the states free of cost.
- However, the system of 25% vaccines being procured directly by the private hospitals will continue.
- State governments will monitor that only ₹150 service charge is levied by the private hospitals over the decided price of the vaccines.
Free for All Vaccine:
- Until now, the Central Government used to provide free vaccines to everyone aged 45 and above.
- However, from now on, the Centre will give free vaccines to all in the 18-44 age group starting June 21.
Extension of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana:
- The government of India has announced the extension of the free ration distribution scheme for 80 crore beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana till November 2021.
Reasons for announcing revised Vaccine Procurement Policy
- These new announcements came after the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to file an affidavit on how the sum of ₹35,000 crores allocated in the Union Budget for vaccines has been spent so far.
- The apex court also asked why these funds cannot be used for giving free vaccination for those in the age group of 18 to 44 years.
- Moreover, the court observed that the Centre’s policy of not providing free vaccines to this particular age group was prima facie arbitrary and irrational.
Source: The Hindu