The Nitish Kumar government in Bihar on Tuesday moved a step closer towards fulfilling a key election promise made by the ruling Janata Dal United and its ally BJP, as it approved a proposal for providing free anti-coronavirus vaccine to all the people of the state. The decision was taken at the first meeting of the cabinet since the allocation of ministries last month.

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced that Bihar would be given free vaccines against Covid-19 during the state polls.

It is learnt that the state health department has been directed by CM Kumar to work out the modalities of vaccinating every resident of Bihar.

Deputy CM Tarkishore Prasad said, “We have decided to carry free innoculation of vaccines against Covid-19 to every resident of the state as it was a foremost promise of the BJP and also the NDA. Our decision is a big gift to people of the state after formation of the government. We feel Bihar’s biggest strength is its human resource and we want them to be protected against the deadly disease as the world is battling with the pandemic.”

The cabinet gave its go-ahead for implementation of "Saat Nishchay Part-2", the second part of seven resolves of the Chief Minister. Free COVID-19 vaccine is one of the many components of the seventh resolve "sabke liye atirikt swasthy suvidha" (better health amenities for all).

Other points covered under the seven resolves part 2 include upgradation of educational institutions and economic empowerment of the youth through a slew of measures including the establishment of a separate department for skill development and setting up of "mega skill centres" and "tool rooms" across all 38 districts.

Former deputy CM and Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Modi said, “The decision of the state cabinet to provide free vaccines against Covid-19 to the entire population of Bihar is a welcome decision. I feel other states should emulate it. The BJP in its manifesto had promised to provide free vaccines knowing well how in Bihar only a small section of the populace could afford it at market prices. Once the vaccines come, the frontline workers, police personnel and those above 50 would be given the doses in a phase wise manner,” he said.