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Fact Check: Is Indian Govt Seeking Rs 100 Crore From A Foreign Donor

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Summary

There is no official document available to show that India has actually approached for Rs 100 cr aid from Gavi. Apart from receiving funds, India has pledged to donate USD 12 million between 2013-2022 to Gavi.

The Telegraph on Nov 16th reported that due to an impending price rise of the polio vaccine, India’s budget for this key vaccine is impacted by close to Rs 100 crore. And to avert a possible stock-out of the injectable inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV), the health ministry has approached Gavi — an international organisation that supports immunisation in poor countries — to intervene and help maintain IPV supplies to India.

The Telegraph had also mocked the statue of unity:

the government seek an international donor’s help at a time it has built a showpiece statue for an estimated Rs 3,000 crore. Quoting some unnamed expert the reports say the situation reflected India’s poor budget allocation for health programmes.

The report further states that the vaccine has been available in India through private paediatricians for over a decade but at higher costs. The health ministry had introduced the IPV in 2015, relying on Gavi which disbursed $16.3 million (Rs 118.8 crore) for IPV immunisation in India during 2015 and 2016 with the expectation that India would then use its own funds.

The Telegraphs report was re-published by The Quint, The Logical Indian, OneIndia.com, etc with similar headlines mocking the Statue of Unity.

What is Gavi?

Created in 2000, Gavi is an international organisation - a global Vaccine Alliance, bringing together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.

What is India's relation with Gavi?

Gavi has been assisting the Government of India in the area of immunisation and health development since 2002. 

The red line on the table indicates the duration of support based on commitments. (source)

If we talk about IPV, then there is a red line for years 2015 and 2016. Since there is no red line for 2017 or 2018, it means Gavi had only committed funds for IPV till 2016 which means India had to fund the IPV vaccine from its own funds from 2017 onwards.

Thus, the report by Telegraph that Gavi had disbursed $16.3 million (Rs 118.8 crore) for IPV immunisation in India during 2015 and 2016 with the expectation that India would then use its own funds is true.

From the table, it is clear that Gavi has already disbursed to India $107 million (Rs 769 crore) for pneumococcal immunisation between 2017 and 2019 and approved $10.7 million for rotavirus vaccines between 2018 and 2020.

The Government of India and Gavi had announced a partnership on 6 January 2016 under which Gavi had to provide up to US$ 500 million between 2016 and 2021 to support India’s immunisation programme, after which India will completely transition out of Gavi support.  As per the report India had to transition away from Gavi support from 2017 and is expected to begin fully self-financing all its vaccine programmes by 2021.

From the Above table, GAVI has already committed US $ 480.5 (100+ 127 +8.5+ 180+65) between 2017-2021. Since HSS1 and IPV support was there in 2016, we can safely say that all the committed 500 US $ has been allotted to some program.

So, if Gavi decides to support India for IPV, it will have to allocate fresh funds or cut down the approved other programs. 

What media reports hide from you? 

In 2014, India became the first implementing country donating to Gavi. The grant agreement was signed in January 2014, with India committing USD 4 million over a 4 year period from 2013-2016 (in line with their planning cycle).

In 2018, India doubled its contribution to Gavi, through a grant agreement signed in January 2018, committing USD 8 million for the 4 year period from 2018-2022. PM Modi has emerged as a leading champion for immunisation in India and globally, enabling India to accelerate its efforts in driving towards universal immunisation as stated on Gavi's website.

Clearly, India sees its development assistance programmes as different from traditional “donor-recipient relationships” and stresses the aspect of “development partnership” which means apart from receiving funds, India has pledged to donate USD 12 million between 2013-2022. Though the number is paltry considering Gavi has provided aid of approx USD 728 million till now and committed 200 million more.

Has India approached Gavi for RS 100 cr aid?

None of the mainstream media houses has reported it and there is no news from ministry as well. Even though the Telegraph report states that "The health ministry has approached Gavi — an international organisation that supports immunisation in poor countries — to intervene and help maintain IPV supplies to India", Union health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda and health officials have often asserted that money will “never” be an issue for the immunisation programme (mentioned in the same report by The Telegraph).

The Telegraph has also quoted the spokesperson of Gavi who said: “The price increase is global and Gavi is aware that this has put a significant, unforeseen strain on India’s immunisation budget, Gavi and its partners are exploring options with the Indian government.” The spokesperson also said the price increase had affected other Gavi-supported countries as well. We expect that more supply will become available at lower prices with the arrival of new manufacturers, starting late 2020.”

As per The Telegraph, IPV price for India, among other countries, is to increase from the current 0.75 euro (Rs 61) to 1.81 euros (Rs 147) per dose in 2019, and to 2.18 euros (Rs 177) per dose from 2020 through 2022 which will affect India's immunisation budget by Rs 100 crore.

There is no official document available to show that India has actually approached for Rs 100 cr aid from Gavi. This is might be an assumption by The Telegraph or maybe they have some inside information about the progress but as they have accepted in their report itself that two senior health officials declined to speak to them about the implications of the IPV price rise or reveal how long the already procured IPV stocks are expected to last.

At this point of time, we can only say that Gavi and India government are working together to tackle this price rise. The reports of India seeking Rs 100 cr aid is just a rumour created by The Telegraph.  

The headline by the logical Indian "Govt Seeks Rs 100 Crore From A Foreign Donor" is clearly misleading because Gavi is associated with UN and is in partnership with India. 

Note: You can reach out to us at support[at]facthunt.co.in if you find any issue with our articles.

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