The furore over alleged discrimination and bias against non-NDA states in vaccine supplies by the Centre has been ongoing since March.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has consistently alleged that Tamil Nadu has not received vaccine doses that it is entitled to and has accused the BJP-led Centre of being partial to states like Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
The BJP was prompt in denying any bias and has insisted that vaccines were being distributed equitably as per a formula that took into account the population of each state, death rates, positivity rates and wastage, among other factors.
The claims of the DMK and the BJP could not be proven right or wrong thus far – the reason being the lack of data in the public domain.
The last round of data of state-wise vaccine supply was published by the PIB on May 11.
Since then, the Centre has not released any information pertaining to vaccine supply to states. When queried, spokespersons of the party have stated that the data is part of eVIN or the electronic vaccine intelligence database and anything under eVIN is confidential.
But data has now come out into the public domain nonetheless. As part of an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court in a case related to distribution of essential supplies to states during Covid, the Centre has revealed the data of how many vaccines have been supplied to each state between January and May 2021.
To arrive at a conclusion as to whether or not states have received vaccines due to them, we turned to a publication by the State Bank of India’s economic research wing. Titled SBI Ecowrap, it is a regular online publication by the PSU bank. The May 07 publication provides details on what each state is entitled to in terms of vaccine supply.
Since this data is applicable for the month of April when cases in Tamil Nadu were on the rise, the figure of 4.9% of vaccines due to the state can be taken as a conservative one. Vaccine supplies should have been higher in TN in May, when the state’s Covid cases peaked.
But let us go with the conservative figure of 4.9% of vaccine supplies due to Tamil Nadu.
Applying SBI’s calculation to the Supreme Court data, we find that several states, including Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala and West Bengal have received more vaccines than was due to them.
This data now makes the following points:
- Tamil Nadu is right in stating that they are in receipt of fewer vaccines than what they are entitled to.
- The Centre is right in stating that they have no bias against non-NDA states in terms of vaccine supply.
Speaking on the subject, Congress leader Mohan Kumaramangalam told India Ahead that the Centre must come clean on why they are providing fewer vaccines for Tamil Nadu.
BJP Spokesperson Narayanan Tirupathy told India Ahead that the Centre was being fair and transparent in supplying vaccines to states and the eVIN data was kept confidential out of national security interests.