Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has shot down Congress proposal to utilise over ₹90 crore from the legislators’ local area development (LAD) fund for the purchase of vaccines. Instead, if the Congress or its legislators wish to donate to the government’s vaccine programme, they could donate to the specified fund or to the organisations that are involved in public vaccination, he said.
“It is not appropriate to add up a fund meant for specific government project with that of a party’s fund to provide vaccines to the public. It is also not necessary at the moment,” said an internal noting signed by the Chief Minister. Further, the Chief Minister said, “It was also not right to utilise the government’s fund and portray it as party’s fund to create confusion among the people.”
Congress had proposed to utilise the Karnataka Legislators’ Local Area Development (KLLAD) Fund and funds meant for the Members of Parliament that would add up to ₹90 crore and add ₹10 crore from the party to purchase vaccines worth ₹100 crore to be given to the public. While each legislator gets ₹2 crore annually, the MPs get ₹5 crore annually.
The Chief Minister, in his letter to the Planning Department, has said that the government had devised vaccination programme and had already decided to fund the entire programme from its resources. “There is no shortage of resources for vaccination or public health in the State,” he added.
Minister for Planning and Statistics K.C. Narayana Gowda has informed the Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah about the State government’s decision. In a letter to him on Wednesday, the Minister said the government had already allowed utilisation of 25% of the KLLAD grants towards COVID-19 management, and the rest to be utilised as per the guidelines.
He said the Centre had announced vaccination programme for those in the 18–44 age group, and there was no dearth of funds for vaccination.