Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee writes to PM Modi; pitches for ‘liberal, pro-active' import of COVID-19 vaccines
Banerjee also suggested the PM that global players be encouraged to open up franchise operations in India to fight the pandemic.
May 12, 2021 / 06:09 PM IST
A vial of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (Image: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on May 12 urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring in ‘liberal, pro-active and discerning' import of vaccines in the country.
Banerjee also suggested the prime minister that global players be encouraged to open up franchise operations in India to fight the pandemic.
“You are kindly aware that as per experts, vaccination is now the real antidote to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. It seems, however, that the production (and hence the supply and distribution) of the vaccines in the country is extremely inadequate and significant in the context of the massive needs of the people at large,” Banerjee wrote in the letter citing that about 10 crore people in West Bengal and 140 crore people in the country need vaccination while only a ‘microscopic percentage’ has been covered.
“Reports indicate that globally there are many manufacturers now. With the aid of scientists and experts, it is possible to identify the reputed and authentic manufacturers who have international reputation and credibility, and it is possible for us to speedily import vaccines from those ends across the different parts of the world I urge you to embark upon the endeavour without any further delay. Liberal, pro-active and discerning import of vaccination is the paramount need today,” the West Bengal CM wrote.
“Also, it may be considered if we could encourage world players to open up franchise operations in our country,” Banerjee wrote, adding that even national players could be inspired to go for franchisee mode for bulk production of vaccines.
Banerjee said West Bengal was ready to provide land and support for any manufacturing/franchise operations for vaccine manufacturing.
Earlier this week, Banerjee wrote to PM Modi, requesting him to waive all forms of taxes and customs duty on equipment and drugs being used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Responding through a series of tweets, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had explained how GST exemption to domestic supplies and commercial import of COVID drugs, vaccines and oxygen concentrators would make these items costlier for consumers.