Covid-19 vaccine India update: PM-CARES Fund to foot over 80% cost of 1st phase of vaccination drive

by Jeremy

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her Budget for the next fiscal beginning April 2021, has set aside Rs 35,000 crore towards COVID vaccination. The PM-CARES fund, which has been set up to provide relief during the coronavirus pandemic, has contributed over Rs 2,200 crore for the first phase of the vaccination drive, looking to inoculate frontline healthcare workers, the Expenditure Secretary said on Tuesday.

Covid-19 vaccine India update: PM-CARES Fund to foot over 80% cost of 1st phase of vaccination drive

Set up in March 2020, the exact collections made by the fund through voluntary contributions by individuals and corporates are not known. Still, the corpus managed by the PMO has been providing relief to pandemic-hit sectors. With the Budget for the current fiscal, which was presented before the onset of the pandemic, making no separate allocation for vaccination, more than 82 percent of the cost of the same from January to March is being borne by the PM CARES Fund.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her Budget for the next fiscal beginning April 2021, has set aside Rs 35,000 crore towards COVID vaccination. In an interview with PTI, Expenditure Secretary T V Somanathan said the cost of immunization of frontline and healthcare workers in the current fiscal is being borne entirely by the central government. The money is coming from the PM CARES fund and Health Ministry. For January-March, the (vaccination) cost is expected to be about Rs 2,700 crore approximately. Part of it comes from the Health Ministry,ry, and some positions are funded from the PM CARES fund. This is for the first round of 3 crore frontline and health workers,” he said.

The Central Government will bear the entire cost of this round, he said. “We had provided extra funds to the Health Ministry for incidental costs to vaccination. We made an additional allocation of Rs 480 crore just for the three crore batch of vaccination,” he said. The remaining Rs 2,220 crore will come from the PM-CARES fund.

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