Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday wrote a letter to the chief ministers of other states and pitched for the central procurement of Covid-19 vaccines. He called for other states to execute the vaccination on “war footing” and also commented that states needed more flexibility to ensure universal vaccination.
“Wrote to all CMs for a consensus on centralised procurement of vaccines by GOI in view of the challenges faced by states. Spoke to some CMs who shared my views,” the chief minister tweeted earlier in the day, along with his letter.
In his letter, Patnaik argued that the global manufacturers of the vaccine are looking forward to the Union government for “clearances and assurances” and the local manufacturers have supply constraints. Hence, the states couldn’t get any response on the global tenders they have floated. Based on this, he urged the Union government to procure the vaccines centrally and distribute them among the states. He also mentioned that the Odisha government had already written to the centre in this regard.
“No state is safe unless all the states adopt vaccination as the topmost priority and execute it on war-footing. But this cannot be a battle among the states to compete against each other to procure vaccines,” Patnaik wrote to the chief ministers.
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He said that the states needed more flexibility to determine their own mechanism to ensure universal vaccination and called for the process to be more decentralised. He urged his counterparts in the other states to reach a consensus soon on the issue to avoid the advent of the third wave of Covid-19 in the country.
“I am sure that we will set aside whatever differences we have either political or otherwise and come together in the true spirit of Cooperative Federalism for saving precious lives and hard-earned livelihoods. I look forward to a productive way forward to pull our country out of this unprecedented crisis and we as a team owe it to our citizens,” he further wrote.
Meanwhile, the Union government has been facing a lot of requests lately for the centralised procurement of the vaccine. Among others, the supreme court on Monday called for the centre to procure vaccines and distribute them. “There is a vital issue. Article 1 of the Constitution says that India, that is Bharat, is a Union of States. When the Constitution says that, we have to follow the federal rule. Then Government of India has to procure vaccines and distribute them. Individual states cannot be left in a lurch,” news agency PTI quoted a special bench of the apex court headed by Justice DY Chandrachud as saying.