Nitish Kumar government approves free coronavirus vaccine for all in Bihar
In line with its poll promise, the Nitish Kumar government on Tuesday approved a proposal for providing free anti-coronavirus vaccine to all the people of the state. The decision was taken at the first meeting of the cabinet.
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced that Bihar would be given free vaccines against Covid-19 during the state polls.
Sources said chief minister Nitish Kumar directed the health department to work out the modalities of inoculating every resident of the state against coronavirus.
“The modalities will be worked out in the coming days. A decision in principle has been taken for free vaccination in the state. In the first round, the health workers may be given the doses followed by people above 60 and then 50. There will be consultation and a detailed report on the vaccination drive would be prepared soon,” said a senior government officer aware of the developments.
Deputy CM Tarkishore Prasad said: “We have decided to carry free innoculation of vaccines against Covid-19 to every resident of the state as it was a foremost promise of the BJP and also the NDA. Our decision is a big gift to people of the state after formation of the government. We feel Bihar’s biggest strength is its human resource and we want them to be protected against the deadly disease as the world is battling with the pandemic.”
The deputy CM said the Covid vaccines would be given once it is approved and available in the market.
Former deputy CM and Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Modi said, “The decision of the state cabinet to provide free vaccines against Covid-19 to the entire population of Bihar is a welcome decision. I feel other states should emulate it. The BJP in its manifesto had promised to provide free vaccines knowing well how in Bihar only a small section of the populace could afford it at market prices. Once the vaccines come, the frontline workers, police personnel and those above 50 would be given the doses in a phase wise manner,” he said.
The cabinet also decided to generate 20 lakh jobs in government and non-government sector in the next five years and also to link Hindi language with technical education apart from constructing Ashray stalls in every city for the senior citizens.
The state cabinet approved the implementation of all programmes under Atma Nirbhar Bihar and Saath Nischai (Seven resolves) -2 for the next five years (2020-2025) apart from approving 14 other agendas, according to a press release issued by the government.
Other major decisions taken were enhancement of incentive to unmarried girls having passed intermediate from Rs 10000 to Rs 25000 while for married/unmarried girls having done graduation, the incentive has been raised to Rs 50000 from Rs 25000 for higher education.
Youths keen on starting business will be given Rs 5 lakh loans at one percent interest plus 50% subsidy on the project cost up to maximum of Rs 5 lakh would be provided. There will be a centre of excellence opened in all ITI ( Industrial Training Institute) and Polytechnics for higher training of students so that they adapt to needs of employment in the technical sector.
The Seven resolves part 11 would be focusing on further improving the infrastructure and facilities in health, education, agriculture and other sectors as well, a statement from the cabinet department said.
Incidentally, the decision of generating 20 lakh jobs in the government and non-government sector is another ambitious programme.
Officials said the chief secretary would be calling a meeting of all departmental heads on Wednesday to discuss the modalities of generating jobs for youths to address the unemployment issue, which was a major poll agenda during the recent election. The opposition RJD had rallied on its poll agenda by promising 10 lakh government jobs, if voted to power.
“There will be creation of posts in the government and also encouragement to the private sector to generate more jobs in the state. The matter would be discussed and a report would be prepared soon,” said another officer.
Among the other highlights of the cabinet decisions were opening of mega skill centres in every district, tool room in every division, sport university at Rajgir, free medical treatment for children having a hole in the heart under “Child Heart Scheme” and formation of new department for skill development and entrepreneurship.