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What is Chhattisgarh’s vaccination policy, and why is it being opposed in court?

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

What is Chhattisgarh’s vaccination policy, and why is it being opposed in court?


Context:

Chhattisgarh High Court is hearing intervention applications filed by politicians and lawyers against the state government’s vaccination policy.

  • As per the policy, the state government will administer the vaccines based on the economic situation of the citizens.

Highlights of the Vaccination Policy:

Under this, vaccination of people between 18-44 years of age would be held in three stages.

  1. Firstly, the Antyodaya Card holders are to be vaccinated.
  2. Followed by the BPL card holders.
  3. Then the APL card holders.

Need for sub-classification?

  • Because of the limited number of vaccines available to the state.
  • Besides, lack of education, access to internet, smart phone make it harder for the poor to receive benefits.

Also, since the Antyodaya Group who are residing mostly in the remote areas and who are rather illiterate or not knowing anything much about the Covid-19 pandemic, symptoms, complications, necessity to register in the portal and as to the infrastructure, are moving around quite freely which spreads the disease much faster.

Points raised against the state’s vaccination policy:

  • This sub-classification is beyond the constitutional mandate and is patently in violation of the law of equality and the equal opportunity before law.
  • It discriminates citizens with reference to their right to life.

What did the High Court ask the state to do next?

  1. Fix a reasonable ratio of allotment of vaccines.
  2. A Scheme has to be formulated by the State by earmarking appropriate share of the vaccines to them as well.
  3. Set up ‘Help Desks’ providing spot registration and to administer vaccines to them.

Who is an Antyodaya card holder?

Antyodaya Anna Yojana was a Union government scheme in which “poorest of the poor” were identified and given a yellow ration card, which indicated that they were to be given rice, wheat and other ration items at heavily subsidised rates.

  • Families with annual income less than Rs 15,000, senior citizens with no support, widows and unemployed persons also fall in this category.

Sources: Indian Express.