BHUBANESWAR: Following states like Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, Odisha is also set to float a global tender to procure vaccines from manufacturers internationally.In a bid to ramp up vaccine availability in the face of acute scarcity of domestic supplies, the State Cabinet on Monday approved the proposal to float the tender to procure the jabs from manufacturers across the world.
The Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik stated that the government will make all out efforts to procure vaccines and ensure supplies at the earliest. A technical committee will be constituted soon to work out the details.
“Procurement of more vaccines will cover the vulnerable population, save lives and restore livelihoods. Vaccines have been found to be effective in saving lives and restoring livelihoods of people. Quick vaccination is the need of the hour,” the Cabinet resolution emphasised.The State government so far has placed orders for 10.34 lakh Covaxin and 220 lakh Covishield doses, but has received only 1.5 lakh and 1 lakh respectively.
The Cabinet pointed at the success of countries like Israel where a majority of people have been vaccinated. “Israel is now returning to normalcy,” the resolution said and added, “vaccination of more people and adhering to Covid guidelines will lead to quick return to normal situation in Odisha.”
A resolution was also passed urging the Centre to exempt vaccines from all tax liabilities so that the burden on the State finances will be reduced and facilitate the drive towards universal vaccination.
The Chief Minister had earlier written to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman requesting to exempt GST on vaccines to create a level-playing field for the states.
“Additional resources raised through various cess and surcharges by the Centre also should be suitably shared with the states at this critical juncture to augment their finances to fight the pandemic,” he had stated. The Cabinet also amended the negative list of industries for addition of manufacturing and refilling of medical oxygen and container.
It appreciated the hard work and sacrifices of the Covid warriors and expressed gratitude to people of Odisha for their cooperation in fight against the deadly virus whether it is testing, tracing, vaccination or lockdown.The Cabinet reiterated its determination to fight the virus with all available resources and provide medical support to the Covid patients. It appealed to the people of Odisha to follow Covid appropriate behaviour like wearing masks, washing hands regularly, maintaining social distance, staying at home and going out only if necessary.
The Cabinet approved tender for construction of sports infrastructure facilities at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar and new international hockey stadium at Rourkela for Hockey World Cup. The Cabinet in its last meeting on March 24 had approved the State-level Sports Infrastructure Development Project for Kalinga Stadium and construction of International Hockey Stadium at Rourkela at an estimated cost of Rs 356.38 crore.