Spontaneous response to a resource mobilisation drive that originated on the social media to meet the cost of vaccines has encouraged the government to institutionalise it as an official scheme.
As soon as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced at his Covid briefing on Thursday Kerala would procure the vaccines directly from manufacturers to avoid delays, contributions began to pour in to the CM’s Relief Fund.
Vijayan had stated money would be a problem, but the state government was going to spend it any way and hoped the Centre would reimburse the expenses. It is estimated direct purchase from the manufacturers for the additional quantities would cost about Rs2,600 crore.
The fund collected nearly a crore rupees without any announcement about any contribution scheme, but purely on the basis of a spontaneous social media campaign.
Contributions are continuing and over a crore rupees were collected on Friday as well, which the CM described as the typical response from the Kerala society to any common cause.
The relief and rescue operation spontaneously launched by the community during the 2018 deluge had set a glorious model of how the people of Kerala rose as a single mind to deal with the tragedy, including generous contributions from the Malayalee diaspora. The epic effort by the fishermen to fan out to all the affected areas with their fishing boats, transported on trucks provided by owners free of cost, to undertake daring rescue operations in the gushing waters had attracted global attention.
The requirement of funds for the Covid vaccination has inspired a similar movement and the government has decided to develop it into a Vaccination Challenge.
The government had successfully organised a Salary Challenge to raise resources to fund the flood relief and reconstruction operations by appealing to government employees and staff of public sector establishments and entities to contribute six days’ salary
While the state government has expressed strong opposition to the Centre’s new policy of passing on the responsibility of organising the balance quantity of vaccine to the state governments and to private players, Vijayan was circumspect in criticising the Modi government, saying the state hoped for a positive response from the Centre.