Amid the demand by opposition parties for free coronavirus vaccination for all Indian citizens and not just for the poll-bound Bihar that was announced by the Bharatiya Janata Party during the electoral campaign, Union Minister Pratap Sarangi on Sunday announced that everyone across the nation will be beneficiary of a free vaccine.
According to a PTI report, the BJP announcement of free COVID vaccine for Bihar, where assembly polls begin day after tomorrow, sparked a controversy with the opposition parties alleging that the NDA government was using the pandemic for political reasons.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said the announcement was in order as it was an election manifesto announcement, it said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that all people will be provided free of cost vaccines. An estimated ₹ 500 odd will be spent on vaccination of each person, Sarangi told reporters after addressing a campaign meeting for the November 3 assembly by-poll in Balasore, the report further said.
Sarangi, the union minister of state for animal husbandry, dairy, fisheries and micro, small and medium enterprises spoke in reply to question raised by Odisha Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister, RP Swain.
Swain sought clarification from Dharmendra Pradhan and Sarangi, the two union ministers from Odisha questioning them for their silence on their party BJP’s stand on free COVID-19 vaccination for the people of the state along the lines of the one being promised in Bihar in a tweet.
The governments of Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, and Puduchchery have already announced free of cost COVID vaccines for the people of their states, while Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has demanded free vaccine for all citizens across the country, the report added.