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COVID-19 India News: Vaccinating everyone above 18 years to cost 0.36 per cent of GDP, says report

India has to vaccinate a whopping 841.95 million people, who are above 18 years of age, which will cost about 0.36 per cent of its GDP, says India Ratings and Research report.

Representational Image (Source: Xinhua)

New Delhi: Indian Government has decided to begin its third phase of vaccinations in the country, for its population above 18 years of age from May 1. This means that the total size of the population that will now be eligible for vaccination would be 841.95 million out of the total population of 1,332.69 million. According to India Ratings and Research’s (Ind-Ra) estimates, this drive may cost Rs 671.93 billion to the Centre.

The second wave of infections of India has been especially affected its younger populations (above 45 years). The homegrown variant of the Coronavirus has powered the sudden spike in cases in India.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 India News: Double mutant virus behind massive spike

Another cause of worry is the Triple mutation virus, which according to studies is attributing to the rise in COVID cases in Maharashtra and West Bengal.

While 12 burden states continue to grapple with the ongoing crisis–of oxygen, ICU beds, ventilators and other resource crunches, vaccinating the young and working population has become imperative for India, which plans to grow above 10 per cent this fiscal year. As per Ind-Ra estimates, this herculean task will cost a big amount of Rs 671.93 billion, which works out to be just 0.36 per cent of India’s GDP.

Out of this amount, the union government will incur Rs 208.70 billion and state governments together will incur Rs 463.23 billion. Percentage wise , the breakup will work out between the union government and state governments, then the fiscal impact on the union budget would be 0.12 per cent of GDP and on the state budgets would 0.24 per cent of GDP.

Among states taking their share of the adult population, the maximum impact is likely to be felt by Bihar (0.60 per cent of GSDP), followed by Uttar Pradesh (0.47 per cent), Jharkhand (0.37 per cent), Manipur (0.36 per cent), Assam (0.35 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (0.30 per cent) and Odisha (0.30 per cent).

However, many states such as Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh have already announced that the government will bear the cost of vaccination. Vaccinations by large corporate groups will reduce pressure on state and/or central budget, Ind-Ra reasons.

The rating agency adds that of the total requirement of vaccines, a sum of Rs 50.90 billion has already been spent for procuring 214 million doses; thus, the remaining amount required to be spent for procuring 1,554 million doses would be Rs 621.03 billion, which is less than 0.36 per cent of GDP.

In order to ease the production demand and maintain fair price of life-saving COVID-19 drugs, the Centre announced that Indian vaccine manufacturers would now be supplying 50 per cent of their production to the Indian government and the balance 50 per cent would available for procurement by the state governments and the open market.

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Therefore, the decision to allow the restricted emergency use of Russian vaccine Sputnik-V and other vaccines approved by the US, EU and WHO is another step in the right direction. “This will only accelerate the vaccination effort in the country.” The first batch of Sputnik V is expected to be delivered to India by April-end.

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