Update at 1 pm: Clearing the air, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari claimed that he was unaware about his colleague Mansukh Mandaviya explaining the Centre's efforts to ramp up vaccine production. Additionally, he revealed that the Union government is already facilitating vaccine manufacturing by 12 different companies which will lead to a spike in production in the near future. He congratulated Mandaviya and his team for their timely intervention. 

In a departure from the Centre's line, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari admitted that there is a shortage of COVID-19 vaccine doses in the country amid the second wave. Addressing the Vice-Chancellors of universities on Tuesday, he called for licensing of vaccines so that production can be ramped up amid rising demand for inoculation. Proposing that the vaccine manufacturers can be given royalty for sharing their formula, he opined that the doses can be exported after India's needs are catered to. In this regard, he urged MoS Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya to take forward this idea. 

Union  Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari remarked, "A problem is created when the demand is more while the supply is less. The vaccine company should give licenses to 10 companies instead of one and take royalty. They should not perceive this as assistance. If the vaccine production starts at 10 places, like Haffkin has got importance..."

"Mansukh Bhai, it is my appeal- there are two, three laboratories in every state and they have adequate infrastructure too. If you give them the formula and coordinate with them, the number (of vaccines) will increase. First, supply in the country and then export when there is excess stock. I feel that this can happen in a matter of 15-20 days. Coincidentally, you are in Delhi. If you deem it appropriate in resolving the vaccine problem, then think about it," he added. Reacting to this, Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said, "Good to know at least 1 BJP Minister is waking up to reality-How many more have to die to wake up the 'System'?"

Here is Nitin Gadkari's full address:

COVID-19 vaccination in India

From May 1 onwards, the Centre relaxed the age bar for COVID-19 inoculation and allowed the vaccine manufacturers to supply 50 per cent of its doses to state governments and in the open market. While some states managed to commence the vaccination for the 18-44 age category, the governments of Maharashtra and Karnataka have suspended this drive owing to a paucity of doses. Special emphasis has been laid on those aged above 45 who are waiting for the second dose of the vaccine.

A total of 14,42,92,147 persons have been inoculated in India till now, 4,09,26,302 of them have received the second dose of the vaccine too. The Union government has asserted that over 216 crore doses of vaccines will be manufactured in India between August and December. This includes COVISHIELD (75 crore doses), COVAXIN (55 crore doses), Bio E Sub Vaccine (30 crore doses), Zydus Cadila DNA vaccine (5 crore doses), SII-Novavax (20 crore doses), BB Nasal Vaccine (10 crore doses), Genova mRNA vaccine (6 crore doses) and Sputnik V (15.6 crore doses). 

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