Hyderabad: In an attempt to nudge people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, the state government gave oral instructions to fair price dealers to stop ration supplies to beneficiaries who fail to produce certificates of vaccination at the time of purchase.
Since a majority of people in rural areas avail rice from ration shops, the government decided to link PDS ration with vaccination certificates to achieve its target of vaccinating the entire population, who are eligible to get vaccination in the state.
Vaccination metrics in rural areas are still low in a few districts. To deal with the vaccine hesitancy, a few government departments have also issued ‘no-vaccine, no-salary’ instructions.
According to a representative of Telangana ration dealers’ association, “Normally, the civil supplies department issues circulars to inform ration shop dealers about its decision which it wants to implement. But in this case, they have not issued any circulars. The civil supplies officials in respective districts issued oral instructions to dealers to insist on vaccine certificates from beneficiaries to avail ration. They told us that despite repeated reminders, the vaccination percentage in rural areas is poor and it could be improved if the vaccine is linked with ration.” He said these instructions were issued to dealers in Adilabad, Asifabad, Nirmal, Mahabubnagar, Narayanpet and Gadwal districts, which lag behind in vaccination.
The Cabinet meeting held on November 29 has directed the Chief Secretary and senior officials of the health department to visit these districts to review the status of vaccination and take measures to improve the same. While this being so, few government agencies are also issuing internal circulars linking salaries with vaccination....