Union Minister Pratap Sarangi on Sunday said that the covid vaccine would be given free of cost to all the people of the country, not only as announced by the BJP in the wake of the demand by the opposition parties in the country.
The controversy erupted when opposition parties tore down the NDA government, accusing the ruling party of using the epidemic for political reasons, announcing a free covid vaccine for Bihar, where assembly elections begin this week.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the announcement was in order as it was an election manifesto announcement.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that free vaccines will be provided to all people. It is estimated that it will cost an odd Rs 500 per person to be vaccinated, Sarangi told reporters while addressing a campaign rally for the Assembly by-election in Balasore on November 3.
In a televised address to the nation on October 20, Modi said Indian scientists were working on developing several vaccines at different stages of clinical trials and the results were encouraging.
Sarangi, Union Minister for Animal Husbandry, Dairy, Fisheries, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, was responding to a question by Odisha Food Supply and Consumer Welfare Minister RP Swain.
Two Union ministers from Odisha, Dharmendra Pradhan and Sarangila, sought clarification from them for their silence on their party BJP’s stance on giving free covid-19 vaccines to the people of the state in Bihar.
The governments of Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Puducherry have announced free covid vaccines for the people of their states, while Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has demanded free vaccines for all citizens across the country.
Swain tweeted, “I am explaining to the two Odisha Union ministers from Balasore soil why the covid vaccine was not given free to the people of the state.
Union ministers should clarify the BJP’s stance on corona vaccine in Odisha.
Swain said that on the steps taken by the state governments for the manufacture of the vaccine, an agreement has been reached with the vaccine manufacturer and they are committed to extend this facility to all the people of the state.
However, he did not say whether the state government would give the vaccine to the people for free.
BJP Deputy Leader in the Odisha Assembly Bishnu Charan Sethi said that the Center was fully cooperating with Odisha during the epidemic and had sanctioned Rs 22,000 crore for this.