Bhubaneswar, May 10: In a major development, the Odisha Government on Monday decided to float global tender to procure COVID-19 vaccines.
A proposal to this effect was cleared by the State Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in the evening.
“Odisha Govt will make all out efforts to procure vaccines in the shortest possible time to protect people and bring back normalcy in the State. A global tender will be floated to procure vaccines to speedily cover vulnerable population & restore livelihood of people,” tweeted the CMO.
State Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra informed the Health and Family Welfare Department has been entrusted with the responsibility to invite the global tenders to procure COVID-19 vaccines.
Besides, a technical committee will be formed to recommend steps to save human lives and restore livelihoods, said the Chief Secretary.
The decision to float global tender follows Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s letter on May 6 to the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman seeking exemption of GST on purchase of COVID-19 vaccines.
The Cabinet highlighted that vaccination is the key to protect citizens from future waves of COVID-19 infections and save precious lives. It cited the example of Israel which has successfully vaccinated a majority of its population and bring near normalcy in the country.
The Cabinet also urged the Centre to exempt vaccines from all tax liabilities to reduce burden on States’ finances and facilitate Odisha’s drive towards universal vaccination; requested for suitable sharing of various cess and surcharges at this juncture to augment States’ resources.