The Congress on Monday contended that the Narendra Modi government's decision to provide free vaccines to all above 18 years of age was taken after the Supreme Court pulled it up and questioned its vaccine policy.
"Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, party leader Rahul Gandhi and several others have been writing to the government for providing free vaccines to every citizens of the country, but the government did not paid heed to its demands," Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.
"And the Narendra Modi government was brought into the dock by the Supreme Court and several other courts of the country. And today at least the government has accepted the demands of the Congress partially to vaccinate all above 18 years of age for free," he added.
His remarks came after Prime Minister Modi, in a televised address to the nation, said that all Indians above 18 years of age will be administered free Covid-19 vaccine from June 21, and that the states will be provided these vaccine doses free of cost from the Central government.
Launching an attack on the government, the Congress leader said that by not buying vaccines from May 2020 to January 2021, and not allowing free vaccines to all till June 7 this year, the government has committed a sin due to which lakhs of people lost their lives.
Surjewala said that in the last six months the government has taken three different steps, and then the Supreme Court and several other courts of the country slammed the government over its "confused" vaccine policy.
"Following the bashing from the courts and demands of the Congress and opposition parties, the government has decided to vaccinate all above 18 years of age for free at government hospitals from June 21. Can someone tell, why the government changed the vaccine policy thrice in last six months and played with the lives of lakhs of the people of the country," he asked, adding that shouldn't the Prime Minister and the government be held accountable for the death of lakhs of people and those who suffered with Covid.
Firing another salvo at the government, Surjewala said, "Till date, the government had been buying 50 per cent of the vaccines produced in the country and the only difference with today's decision is that the government will now buy 75 per cent of the vaccines produced. While the government has made the arrangement of 25 per cent of the vaccines produced to the private sector. It means if you are a salaried person or a small businessman, then still the vaccine is not free for you."