During one of the COVID-19 review meetings in Puducherry on Thursday, September 16, the Lieutenant-Governor of the union territory, Tamilisai Soundararajan, said that COVID-19 vaccination certificate should be mandatory for Puducherry residents to avail special Deepavali gifts from the government. It should be noted though that there is no official order on the same.
Tamilisai Soundararajan, along with higher officials of various departments, held a meeting on Thursday during which the officials detailed the daily coronavirus caseload and vaccination numbers in Puducherry. Following this, the L-G listed a few orders to be swiftly followed by both the government.
A circular issued on the same ordered the officials to ramp up the vaccination in Puducherry, and aim to reach 100% vaccination before October 2. It also said that spreading awareness in this regard must be taken up by the administration. Further, the circular mentioned that Deepavali special benefits and government schemes can only be availed by the residents if they provide a COVID-19 vaccination certificate.
Lastly, the circular added that with the help of various NGOs, volunteers and through social media, the government should create a sense of urgency among the public in getting vaccinated.
While Tamilisai has made the vaccination certificate mandatory to avail government and festival benefits, the Puducherry government has so far not expressed their stand on this announcement. However, several stakeholders in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry have questioned the availability of vaccines, information and resource gap about vaccination among people of economically weaker sections along with vaccine hesitancy.
Many also pointed out how government schemes and festival benefits in monetary and material form are for people of economically weaker sections and the government should not mandate vaccination certificates to avail the same.