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Saturday,19-June-2021

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Centre will give 50% vaccines free: Harsh Vardhan clarifies

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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has clarified on the issue of vaccines after concerns were raised from various quarters including the Congress. The clarification came on late Sunday night.

Harsh Vardhan said, as per the new policy, even after the launch of third phase of vaccination starting May 1, the Government of India will continue giving vaccine doses from its 50 per cent quota to the states and UTs for free. These vaccines shall continue to be administered by states and union territories.

He said, the balance 50 per cent quota grants flexibility for states. Many states had requested that the vaccination process be opened up for them. Now, this balance 50 per cent quota shall give them the freedom to vaccinate groups that they deem as priority.

“It is a fact that health is a state subject, where Centre essentially coordinates and facilitates the states. After we received requests from nearly all states to liberalise the vaccine distribution policy and pass on the control to the states, we decided to go ahead,” Harsh Vardhan said.

The balance 50 per cent quota is also open for corporate and private sector to pool in their resources so that the combined effort of Team India can be deployed to vaccinate every adult in the earliest possible time, he said.

The vaccination process through GOI route will continue as before and the entire expense of this will continue to be borne by the Centre. As the eligibility criteria to get vaccinated through this route evolves further, GOI will continue to provide full support to the states to vaccinate all eligible people free of cost.

Undoubtedly, the private and corporate sector route will empower a large number of people to get themselves quickly vaccinated outside the government route. In essence, those who can afford to get them at the private and corporate sector rates, shall go ahead, the minister said.

The states, therefore, as per their own priority and commitments, have to vaccinate only those remaining people who have not been administered vaccines either through the GOI free route or through the private route.

“It is thus important to note that for the common people at large, there is and will always be an option to get vaccinated for free, to ensure that the price of vaccines does not become a burden for them.” he said.

“The 50 per cent quota, that is at Government of India’s pricing, is for free distribution of vaccines and distribution of all of this will be done through the states only. Hence the allegation that Centre is getting it cheap and States are not is patently false,” he further said.

The actual situation is that states are getting one guaranteed channel of free vaccine supply, while it can simultaneously procure vaccines from another channel as per its aspirations and commitment to its people, the minister clarified.

“I see no reason why the states must complain now. They were demanding removal of restrictions on vaccine supplies to them. Under the new policy, they have the liberty to directly procure from the manufacturers and even negotiate prices based on volumes. This will also cut the delays. I empathise with the states because they are leading this battle from the front and need fast replenishment of vaccine stocks. They need to decide when, how, how much and to whom. This is exactly what the Centre has done by easing the process,” the Union Health minister said.

National News

By giving clean chit to Agra hospital, UP govt did mock drill of inquiry: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

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Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday slammed the Uttar Pradesh government for giving a clean chit to an Agra hospital where 22 patients died after oxygen supply was allegedly cut during a drill.

She said that the government has closed all the doors of justice.

Priyanka, who is also the in-charge of UP Congress, tweeted: “What an irony. According to reports a hospital in Agra conducted mock drill by allegedly cutting the oxygen supply and the BJP government gave clean chit to the hospital doing mock drill of the inquiry. The paths of government and the hospital have been cleared. By not listening to the complaints of the patients families, the government has shut all hope of justice.”

She also attached a news report claiming that a clean chit was given to the Paeas Hospital, which was caught in a controversy after a video surfaced online.

In the video, a man was heard saying to conduct a mock drill on oxygen supply.

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Gurugram: FIR against ex-BJP MLA for forging court records

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Following a complaint by the District Town Planner (DTP), the Gurugram police on Friday registered FIRs against three persons, including a former Gurugram BJP MLA for allegedly forging court records and circulating them on social media, the police said on Saturday.

According to the police, on May 16, former BJP MLA Umesh Aggarwal’s associates had filed a plea alleging contempt of court against the officials of the DTP team for carrying out demolition drive in an illegal colony in Sector-77 Kherki Daula, on June 10.

The District Town Planner R.S. Batth in his police complaint alleged that former MLA, Umesh Aggarwal had circulated forged court summons on social media, claiming that a contempt of court proceedings had been initiated against the officials of the DTP department by a court.

Following the complaint, an FIR has been registered against three under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Sector-14 police station.

“Before carrying out the demolition drive, all legal formalities were taken but the trio continue to develop an illegal colony,” Bhatt told IANS.

“In connection with the matter an FIR has been registered. Further probe is underway,” said a police officer.

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National News

BJP demands attempt to murder case against Pinarayi Vijayan

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Joining issue in the ongoing war of words between chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and new Congress president K. Sudhakaran, on Saturday, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan demanded that an attempt to murder case against Vijayan be lodged.

On Saturday, at Sudhakaran’s press conference, his party colleague K. Gopi, who hails from Vijayan’s village in Kannur, recalled an old incident, that in 1977 when 26 beedi workers were terminated from a society, they led a protest.

“I was leading the protest and then Vijayan with a sword led a group of people and he brandished his sword and it hit my hand and the injury mark is still there,” said Gopi showing his hand and adding that despite his complaint to the local police then, there was no further action in the case.

Muraleedharan told the media in the state capital that if the Congress party is serious in the allegation, they should register a police complaint.

“There is no time limit to an attempt to murder case and hence, Sudhakaran should ask Gopi to go forward and register a fresh complaint,” said Muraleedharan.

He also pointed out that in the past two days both these leaders have been revisiting their college days at the Government Brennen College and have been saying about their deeds then and it shows that both of them were goons and criminals.

“My appeal to both of them is not to portray a great institution like Brennen College by distorting its greatness, and lowering it as a place of goons,” said Muraleedharan.

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