The Centre has refuted media reports which claim that only 26.14 percent of the 'India Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Package - Phase-II' (ECRP) funds have been disbursed to states.
Calling these reports 'misleading and misinformed', the Centre said that 50 percent of the funds earmarked for the states and union territories have been released and not 26.14 percent as reported.
Further, it also clarified that the funds were released on August 24, 2021, and not in November 2021, as claimed by news reports.
In July last year, the Cabinet approved the ECRP scheme that is aimed to prevent, detect and respond to the continuing threat posed by COVID-19 and strengthen national health systems for emergency response and preparedness across the country.
Under the scheme, Rs 20,308.70 crore were to be spent by states out of which Rs 12,185.70 crore is to be provided by the central government and Rs 8,123 crore is to be provided by state governments.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
In a press release, the government stated that 15 percent of the Centre's share to the states and union territories was released on July 22, 2021.
"The second instalment of funds was released soon after as advance to the States in the month of August 2021. A total amount of Rs 6075.85 crore (50 percent of central share) has already been released to States/UTs through National Health Mission (NHM) by 24th August 2021," the government said.
According to the government, so far expenditure of Rs 1,679.05 crore has been incurred by 36 States/UTs under ECRP-II. Additionally, the government states that out of Rs 6075.85 crore made available by the Union government, Rs 1679.05, crore, (i.e. 27.13 percent), have been spent by States as of December 31 2021.
It further stated that the remaining funds will be released to the states on the basis of the progress and utilisation of at least 50 percemt of the funds already released. So far, five states have reported expenditures of more than 50 percent.The central government also noted that two meetings have been held by the Union health minister with state health ministers. The Union health secretary has also conducted at least three meetings with state health secretaries, it said.