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'Give licence to 10 more vaccine makers, instead of only one,' says Nitin Gadkari

"If the demand is more and supply is less, then it creates problems. So, instead of one, licence should be given to 10 vaccine companies," said Nitin Gadkari

Nitin Gadkari says licence should be given to more companies for vaccine Nitin Gadkari says licence should be given to more companies for vaccine

As a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines plague the country, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari suggested giving licence for manufacturing of vaccines and life-saving drugs to more domestic companies. Gadkari on Tuesday said licencing should be opened up to more companies, further expressing dismay over the loss of lives due to lack of oxygen.

"If the demand is more and supply is less, then it creates problems. So, instead of one, licence should be given to 10 vaccine companies. Royalty can also be taken from them. No need to do it as philanthropy. Vaccine production should be opened up in 10 more places. There are labs in every state that also have the capacity as well as infrastructure. Lend them the formula and coordinate between the labs and the companies and increase production. First let them supply in the country and then export if there's surplus," said Gadkari in a virtual address to vice chancellors of universities. 

Gadkari said that this can be done in 15-20 days.

The minister's suggestions drew a sharp response from Congress leader Jairam Ramesh. "This is what Dr. Manmohan Singh had suggested on April 18th. But is his Boss listening," asked Ramesh, referring to the letter written by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on managing the COVID-19 crisis.

On Wednesday morning, Gadkari issued a clarification stating that the government has already started these efforts. "Yesterday while participating at the conference organised by Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, I had made a suggestion to ramp up vaccine production. I was unaware that before my speech Minister for Chemical & Fertilizers Shri @mansukhmandviya had explained government's efforts to ramp up vaccine production. After conference, he also informed me that GoI is already facilitating vaccine manufacturing by 12 different plants/companies and rapid ramp up of production is expected in near future as a result of these efforts. I was unaware that his ministry has started these efforts before I had given suggestion yesterday. I am glad and congratulate he and his team for this timely intervention in the right direction. I feel important to put this on record (sic)," he said in a series of tweets.

The Centre had said last Tuesday that it is ramping up vaccine production and that 7.30 crore doses of vaccines would be available in May for the vaccination drive.

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