The Congress party’s requisition to the government, seeking legislators’ fund to purchase vaccine for COVID-19, is unlikely to get the nod, with the Planning Department ruling out the possibility of releasing money directly for the purpose.
While the Planning Department has agreed to utilise the funds in COVID-19 testing, management and vaccination based on the party’s letter, it has ruled out the possibility of releasing the money directly to the party. The file, it is learnt, is currently under the consideration of the Chief Minister’s Office.
The Congress has sought ₹1 crore from the local area development funds of its MLAs, MLCs, and Members of Parliament in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha that will amount to ₹90 crore. The party has also informed the government that it will raise ₹10 crore additionally, to procure vaccines worth ₹100 crore. It has said that it will vaccinate people adhering to the ICMR protocols.
Each legislator gets ₹2 crore annually for local area development while the Parliamentarians have an allocation of ₹5 crore yearly. The money to the MPs is released by the Centre and is directly made available in the deputy commissioner’s office.
Government sources said that though the LAD funds could be used for health and medical purposes, they are encountering a request like this for the first time. “When governments are struggling to get vaccine, we are not sure about Congress procuring vaccine by itself,” said a source.
Further, sources added, “While the party has been seeking money to purchase vaccine and supply it to the people, they have not indicated where and how will they procure the vaccine and whom will they vaccinate. Allowing the legislators to use the funds to purchase vaccine has been ruled out.”
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