Over Rs 2,200 crore for the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive which aims to inoculate frontline healthcare workers was provided by the PM-CARES fund, the Expenditure Secretary T V Somanathan was quoted as saying by India Today.
The Prime Minister Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM-CARES) fund managed by the Prime Minister’s Office was set up in March 2020 and has been providing relief to the pandemic-hit sectors.
The Union Budget 2020-21 was launched pre-pandemic and didn’t allocate any amount for the vaccination. Reportedly, 82 per cent of the cost of vaccination from January to March is being borne by the PM-CARES fund.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in the Union Budget 2021-22, allocated Rs 3,500 crore towards COVID-19 vaccination.
Somanathan, in an interview to the PTI, said that the cost of vaccination of frontline and healthcare workers in the current fiscal is being borne fully by the central government and the money is coming from PM CARES fund and Health Ministry.
He said that for January-March the (vaccination) cost is expected to be about Rs 2,700 crore approximately. “This is for the first round of 3 crore frontline and health workers," he said.
The entire cost of this round will be borne by the Central Government, 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 3 crore batch of vaccination. The remaining about Rs 2,220 crore will come from PM-CARES fund,” he added.
The PM-CARES fund is managed by a trust headed by the Prime Minister. The defence minister, the home minister and the finance minister are the ex-officio members of the trust.
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