With a reference to Punjab, Union minister jabs Rahul Gandhi for questioning Centre's change in vaccination policy
Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday took a jibe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for questioning the Centre's change in Covid-19 vaccination policy. After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to the nation on Monday, Gandhi tweeted to ask why people would still have to pay for jabs at private hospitals.
"One simple question - If vaccines are free for all, why should private hospitals charge for them?" Gandhi asked in his tweet.
Responding to it on Tuesday, Puri asked if the Congress leader is actually trolling his own party's government in Punjab.
"Sh Rahul Gandhi has been going around asking “If vaccines are free for all, why should pvt hospitals charge for them?” Is he actually trolling his own party’s government in Punjab?" said the Union minister tagging Rahul Gandhi's tweet.
The Punjab government faced flak from the Centre and state opposition parties for selling Covid vaccines to private hospitals at a premium. Hindustan Times was first to highlight how the vaccine, procured on state government rate of ₹400 per dose, was sold to private hospitals at the rate of ₹1,060 per dose. The private hospitals were further selling the dose at ₹1,560.
The Centre wrote to the Punjab government, seeking a clarification over reports that it had earned a profit by selling jabs. Union minister Prakash Javdekar also criticised the Punjab government’s decision.
After the attack and Centre's tough words, the Punjab government asked the private healthcare facilities to return all the stock.
On Monday, PM Modi announced that the Centre has decided to buy 75 per cent of jabs from vaccine makers, including 25 per cent of the state quota, and give it for free to state governments, while private sector hospitals can continue to procure the remaining 25 per cent but cannot charge more than ₹150 per dose over the pre-fixed price.
Along with Gandhi, many Congress leaders also criticised the PM's announcement saying the goal of universal free vaccination against Covid-19 has still not been achieved.