"The States have been asked to purchase vaccines out of their own resources to cover the 18 to 45 years age group of the population. These purchases attract GST, making the vaccines costly for the state. Hence, GST needs to be completely exempted. It will reduce the cost for the state and facilitate our drive towards universal vaccination," Patnaik stated in his letter.
The Chief Minister also sought financial assistance to the States from cess and surcharges collected by the Government of India.
"Lack of finances should not affect any state affecting the entire country in turn. Hence, the additional resources raised through various cess and surcharges on Petrol, diesel and liquor, which are exclusively available for the Central government, may be shared suitably with the state governments at this critical juncture. This will strengthen our fight against the pandemic including the provision of vaccination, free treatment and undertaking preventive measures," he said.
Earlier, Odisha Government had announced free vaccination against COVID-19 for all citizens of the state in the age group of 18 to 45 years.
The State Government has estimated to spend around Rs 2,000 crore to vaccinate around 2 crore population between the age group of 18 and 45 years, official sources said.