Both the traditional rivals in Kerala’s political rubric, the ruling Left and the Congress-led Opposition, on Friday launched attacks on the vaccine distribution policy of the Narendra Modi government, terming it “flawed”.
Economist-turned-politician Minister Thomas Issac, who completed 10 years as state Finance Minister over two terms, coined a new statement “between Covid and Modi” to replace the popular usage of “between the devil and the deep sea”.
“Vaccines should be given for free and this is the first time in the history of the country, vaccines will have to be paid for. Modi is following the ‘penny wise pound foolish’ policy and it has already caused a huge dent to our country. He is stingy when it comes to giving out vaccines, which are the most needed at this time. Rs 35,000 crore was set aside in the budget and everyone pointed out it was less, but now they are not prepared to spend Rs 80,000 crore for vaccines. On account of the raging Covid, if the expected 12 per cent economic growth fails to take place, just imagine the massive loss that will happen,” said an angry Issac.
“It is strange that there is a differential price system that has been announced for vaccines. For the Centre, the vaccine is priced at Rs 150, for states, it is Rs 400 and Rs 600 for private hospitals. The very same people who were speaking of ‘One Nation’ have dumped it when it comes to precious human lives. They have been speaking of Rs 20 lakh crore package and they might well use it for vaccines,” he said.
Noting that Kerala will have to raise Rs 1,100 crore for vaccines, Issac said that it will do it.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala termed the vaccine policy of the Centre as a “mad one”.
“The way things are going on… the Country is facing its worst-ever crisis, it is pretty bad. Advance warning was given that there might be a shortage of oxygen, but nothing was done and see what has happened. Likewise, when vaccines should be rightfully given free of cost, the Centre has thrown its citizens to the mercy of vaccine manufacturers, who are making merry when people are suffering. People should be given free vaccines,” he said.