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Congress takes a dig at Centre after Nitin Gadkari’s suggestion on increasing vaccine supply

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The Congress on Wednesday took a dig at the Union government after minister Nitin Gadkari suggested at an event that more pharmaceutical companies should be allowed to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines to increase supply.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said the suggestion given by Gadkari was already suggested by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 18. Quoting the statement of Nitin Gadkari, Jairam Ramesh said, “But is his Boss listening? This is what Dr Manmohan Singh had suggested on April 18.”

What Gadkari had said

Addressing a conference organised by the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch on Tuesday, Gadkari had said, “If the demand of vaccine is more than its supply, then it creates a problem. So, instead of one company, 10 more companies should be allowed to make vaccines by paying 10 per cent royalty to the original patent holder of the vaccine.”

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Gadkari added, “Let them supply in country and later, if there’s a surplus, they may export. It can be done in 15-20 days.”

Nitin Gadkari issues clarification

After Congress’ dig, Nitin Gadkari clarified that he was unaware that before his speech, Union minister Mansukh Mandaviya had already explained the Centre’s efforts to ramp up vaccine production.

Gadkari, in a series of tweets, said, “After the conference, he also informed me that, GoI is already facilitating vaccine manufacturing by 12 different plants/companies and rapid ramp up of production is expected in near future as a result of these efforts.”

“I was unaware that his ministry has started these efforts before I had given suggestion yesterday.  I am glad and congratulate he and his team for this timely intervention in the right direction. I feel important to put this on record,” he added.

Vaccine shortage

The vaccination drive in India is moving at a very slow pace considering the country’s huge population. Several states have urged the Centre to increase vaccine supply and said they are running out of vaccines.

While the Centre initially was reluctant to admit a vaccine shortage and tried to blame the states for poor implementation of the vaccination drive, the vaccination figures released by the Centre tell a different story. While over 38 lakh vaccines doses were administered earlier, the number has gradually declined to just 13.12 lakh on May 18.

 

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