The Jharkhand chief minister has urged the PM to give free vaccines to the state for age group 18-44 to tackle the pandemic
National secretary of National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation A. Mohamed Yusuf has supported Jharkhand chief minister’s letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 31 urging to give free vaccines to the state for age group 18-44 to tackle the pandemic.
“We fully endorse the letter written by Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren ji to the Prime Minister. In fact our party Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) had filed a PIL with the Supreme Court on May 10 and which was numbered on Thursday. We had prayed the Supreme Court to direct the Union of India to formulate a uniform pan India policy of Covid-19 vaccination for providing it free of cost to every person within India,” said Yusuf, an advocate by profession.
“Our petition also prays for the Supreme Court to constitute an independent body under the direct supervision/monitoring of the court to ensure free and uniform vaccination across all the states and Union Territories. We are happy at the observation made by the Supreme Court on Wednesday on the Centre vaccination policy,” added Yusuf.
Incidentally, the Supreme Court had made a prima facie observation that the Centre’s vaccination policy, which does not provide free vaccination for those in the age group of 18-44 years, as “arbitrary and irrational”.
The observation was made by a bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhatt in the suo moto case on Covid related issues (in re-distribution of essential supplies and services during pandemic).
Soren had written to the Prime Minister on May 31 evening, urging to give free vaccines to the state to tackle the pandemic and that the financial burden for the state to cover 1.57 crore beneficiaries (in the age group of 18-44 years) is likely to be around Rs 1,100 crore and will hit the financial situation of a state like Jharkhand which is already stressed during Covid times.
The letter had further stated that it was probably the first instance in the history of independent India that states have been mandated to procure vaccines on their own. Such a mandate, under the ongoing challenging and unprecedented circumstances, where the entire nation is struggling for over a year, stands against the principle of co-operative federalism and cited the instances that so far all states had received vaccines free of cost from the Central government for all other programmes and routine immunisation.
The JMM, the ruling party in the UPA-led government in Jharkhand, also enthused with the apex court’s observation claimed that all people in the age-group of 18-44 years will get free vaccines in Jharkhand.
“Whether the Central government supports us or not, our people in Jharkhand
will get free vaccines. We hope that the Supreme Court will take a decision soon on the issue and save states like Jharkhand which are facing step-motherly treatment by the BJP-led central government in terms of financial support and vaccine allocation programme,” said JMM general secretary and party’s central spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya.