The cost of vaccinating all above the age of 18 against COVID-19 is estimated at ₹67,193 crores (₹671.93 billion), according to research house India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). This is nearly 0.36% of India's gross domestic product (GDP). This figure is over and above the ₹50.1 billion (₹5,010 crores) that has already been incurred.
This calculation comes on the back of the impending eligibility of all those above the age of 18 to receive the COVID-19 jab from May 1, which until now was being offered to frontline workers, and those above the age of 45.
The total eligible population to receive the jab has now been raised to 841.95 million out of India's population of 1.33 billion people. Of this, the population between 18 - 44 years is 463.23 million in states, 5.58 million in union territories and the population above the age of 45 is 238.43 million.
To this end, the central government may spend ₹208.7 billion (₹20,870 crores) and the states may spend ₹463.23 billion (₹46,323 crores), calculates India Ratings.
"If we split it between the union government and state governments, then the fiscal impact on the union budget would be 0.12% of GDP and on the state budgets would 0.24% of GDP. The maximum impact is likely to be on Bihar (0.60% of GSDP), followed by Uttar Pradesh (0.47%), Jharkhand (0.37%), Manipur (0.36%), Assam (0.35%), Madhya Pradesh (0.30%) and Odisha (0.30%)", says India Ratings.
Here's how their calculation pans out:
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has made an allocation of ₹35,000 crores in this year's Union Budget for the vaccination drive. "I have provided ₹35,000 crores for Covid-19 vaccine in BE 2021-22. I am committed to provide further funds if required", she said in her speech.
India Ratings thinks that the cost of vaccination would be a recurring expenditure of the central and the state budgets since the anti-bodies created by these vaccines last from 12 - 18 months.
Many states like Kerala, Chattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar have announced that they would be giving the vaccine for free and bear the cost of vaccination, while large corporations who would bear the cost of vaccinating their employees is also expected to reduce some financial pressure on governments.
"Ind-Ra believes given the magnitude of the problem and the economic cost the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic is likely to inflict on the economy, it is too small an amount. However, more than the money spent, the critical factor would be how soon the desired level of vaccination can be achieved", India Ratings says.
Among the vaccine yet to come, the first doses of Sputnik-V is most likely to come to India late-April, according to the organisation.
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