Consult state before fixing priorities for vaccination: Punjab CM

Chandigarh, Feb 20 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday urged the Central government to consult with the state before fixing priorities for Covid-19 vaccination, as it is a matter involving the entire population.

With the portal created by the government of India for registration of healthcare and frontline workers frozen, several such workers of the state willing for vaccination registration have been left behind, he pointed out, calling upon the Centre to allow entry of such workers to improve the status of vaccination drive.

In his circulated speech at Niti Aayog meeting, the Chief Minister also sought to allow 100 per cent use of available the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) towards expenditure for Covid management, instead of the present ceiling of 50 per cent.

Further, in the event of SDRF yearly budget being exceeded due to enhanced expenditure on Covid-related matters, the state may also be allowed to utilize previous years available funds, he suggested.

Singh also urged the Central government to provide financial assistance of at least Rs 300 crore to upgrade health infrastructure, equipment and other healthcare needs in view of the pandemic.

For effective service delivery at health and wellness centres, liberal grants for strengthening of infrastructure, drugs and diagnostic may be provided by the Centre to strengthen the state’s efforts to provide comprehensive primary healthcare services through sub centres and primary health centres with a linkage to secondary healthcare services, especially during the Covid period, said the Chief Minister.

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