Prime Minister Modi To Address India At 5 pm

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation at 5 pm today and reports suggest he may speak on his government’s vaccine plan.

The Prime Minister’s latest address comes at a time Covid cases are on the wane after a deadly surge in April-May and parts of the country are emerging from strict lockdowns.

The Centre’s vaccination policy has been criticized by states and experts and has also been questioned by the Supreme Court. The slow roll-out has become a big concern as experts warn of a third wave of Covid.

Under a new liberalised policy that came into effect on May 1, states and private hospitals were allowed to buy vaccines directly from manufacturers.

At the same time, the Centre opened vaccinations to all adults and said it would continue to offer free inoculations for those above 45.

The Supreme Court last week called the policy of free vaccines for people who are 45 and above and paid doses for the 18-44 group, “arbitrary and irrational”.

Flagging other flaws like problems faced by rural people in accessing vaccines, the court asked the centre to review its policy and “place on record a roadmap of projected availability of vaccines till 31 December 2021”. The Centre was asked to furnish complete details on its vaccination policy, including all documents and file notings, and also clarify how ₹ 35,000 crore announced in the Budget was used in procuring vaccines.

The Centre’s decisions on vaccines were seen to fall short when India was devastated by the sheer scale of virus cases in the second wave in March-April. The government had to pause exports of Covid shots under its “Vaccine Maitri” programme and scrambled to procure more doses to tackle shortage in the country.

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