Planning Dept. rules out allowing Congress to procure vaccines

Health workers collecting vaccines from a hospital in Bengaluru. SUDHAKARA JAIN   | Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

The Congress party’s requisition to the government seeking legislators’ fund to purchase COVID-19 vaccine is unlikely to get approval, with the Planning Department ruling out the possibility of releasing money directly for the purpose.

While the Planning Department has agreed to utilise the funds in COVID-19 testing, management, and vaccination based on the party’s letter, it has ruled out the possibility of releasing the money directly for the purpose of vaccination. The file, it is learnt, is currently under the consideration of the Chief Minister’s Office.

The Congress has sought ₹1 crore each from the local area development funds of its MLAs, MLCs, and MPs, which in total amounts to ₹90 crore. The party has also informed the government that it will raise ₹10 crore additionally, to procure vaccines worth ₹100 crore. It has said that it will vaccinate people adhering to the ICMR protocols.

Each legislator gets ₹2 crore annually for local area development, while the Parliamentarians have an allocation of ₹5 crore a year. The money to the MPs is released by the Centre and is directly made available in the Deputy Commissioner’s office.

First time

Government sources said that though the LAD funds could be used for health and medical purposes, they were encountering a request like this for the first time. “When governments are struggling to get vaccine, we are not sure about the Congress procuring the vaccine by itself,” said a source.

Sources also added that while the party has been seeking money to purchase vaccines and supply it to the public, it has not indicated where and how will it will procure the vaccine and to whom will it will administer it. “Allowing legislators to use the funds to purchase vaccines has been ruled out,” the source said.

A few days ago, the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee launched an online campaign to create awareness about the importance of vaccination and to build pressure to allow the Congress to directly procure vaccines worth ₹100 crore using legislators’ funds.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 11:11:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/planning-dept-rules-out-allowing-congress-to-procure-vaccines/article34657044.ece

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