The Finance Ministry clarifies that the Rs 35,000 crore shown in the budget by the Center has actually been used to purchase Covid vaccines. The Finance Ministry said in a statement, it is factually incorrect to say that the Central Government has not made any provision for spending on Covid-19 vaccination.

An amount of Rs 35,000 crore has been shown under the demand for grant number 40 with transfer title to the states. The vaccines are actually being acquired and procured by the Center through this account. This explanation of the Finance Ministry came out after a question was raised in a media report on vaccination funding.

The ministry said in its statement, the use of the demand for this grant has several administrative advantages. First, because the expenditure on vaccines is a one-off expenditure outside the centrally sponsored central schemes of the Ministry of Health, the separate funds ensure easy monitoring and management of these funds.

Also, this grant has been exempted from the quarterly expenditure control restrictions applicable to other demands. The Ministry clarified that this helps to ensure that there is no hindrance to the immunization program. The amount provided under transfer to states for vaccination is actually handled by the Ministry of Health.

The states are given vaccines as grants and the actual administration of the vaccines is done by the states. In addition, there is sufficient administrative flexibility to vary the nature of the plan between grants in type and other forms.

Therefore, as stated in the news itself, the budget classification does not really matter to ensure adequate availability of funds for vaccination. The use of transfer-titled demand to the states does not mean that expenditure cannot be incurred by the Center.