Azim Premji, on February 21, called for the involvement of the private sector to vaccinate India's population against COVID-19.
Speaking at an interactive session organised by the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC), the former Wipro chairman and managing director told Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman that deploying and administering the vaccine in large proportion was a key requirement.
"While the government is doing its best, I would strongly suggest that they should supplement the efforts by involving the private players," he said.
Track this LIVE blog for all the latest updates on coronavirus pandemic
Elaborating on how the private sector can participate in vaccination drive, Premji said that there is a possibility that the Serum Institute of India (SII) provides vaccine at about 300 per shot to the hospitals and private nursing homes, which can then administer the jab at a cost of 100 rupees a shot.
"So within 400 rupees a shot, it is possible to do mass vaccination of the population," the IT czar said.
Read: Maharashtra government mulls night curfew amid spike in COVID-19 cases
He further said that if the government engaged the private industry quickly, India could immunise 500 million people within 60 days.
It may be recalled that the Centre has procured Covishield vaccine doses from the Serum Institute at Rs 200 per dose.
Meanwhile, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla, on February 21 urged other countries to be patient as the company had been directed to prioritise the needs of India.
Read: Adar Poonawalla urges countries please be patient, Serum directed to prioritise India needs
Apart from making efforts to meet the requirements of India, the company is also trying its best to balance the needs of the rest of the world, he said.
"Dear countries and governments, as you await #COVISHIELD supplies, I humbly request you to please be patient, @SerumInstIndia has been directed to prioritise the huge needs of India and along with that balance the needs of the rest of the world. We are trying our best," Poonawalla said in a tweet.Click here for Moneycontrol's full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak