A conflict broke out between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs and Congress leaders over the vaccine policy during a parliamentary panel meeting held on Wednesday, 23 June.
According to an NDTV report, members of the BJP on the Science and Technology panel opposed discussion on the agenda for the meeting, which was on the vaccine policy, for the first 50 minutes of the assembly.
The meeting was held to deliberate over the development of vaccines and the genome sequencing of COVID variants.
As the debate over the disparity in vaccine pricing led to a conflict between the Congress party MPs and the BJP members, the latter left the room for a brief period. When they returned, panel chairman and senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh assured those gathered that the meeting would not waver from the original agenda again.
However, when some of the members of the Opposition persisted with their questions upon the differential vaccine pricing, the BJP MPs asserted that the questions related to pricing did not come under the domain of the Science and Technology Ministry that was on the meeting panel.
"This ministry has nothing to do with the procurement of vaccines or their prices. There should not be any attempt to politicise the issue by raising such questions," a BJP MP reportedly stated.
Balram Bhargava, the Director-General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), was also in attendance at the meeting.
The participants of the meet questioned the scientist on the reduced sample size for genome sequencing.
The number of samples taken for genome sequencing to track viral variants - 40,000 - represented only 0.013% of the population, while the recommended proportion is 5%.
Dr Bhargava indicated that such testing requires monkeys, which were not readily available to the ICMR.
(With inputs from NDTV)
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