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Persons Without Digital Access Can Take Help Of Friends, Families, NGOs, Common Service Centres For CoWIN Registration : Centre Tells SC

Srishti Ojha
10 May 2021 6:26 AM GMT
Persons Without Digital Access Can Take Help Of Friends, Families, NGOs, Common Service Centres For CoWIN Registration : Centre Tells SC
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While defending its stand to have online registration for Covid vaccinations, the Centre has submitted before the Supreme Court that citizens who have no access to CoWIN app, can get assistance from Common Service Centres established by gram panchayats at grassroot levels. Centre has stated that such persons without digital access can also take help from friends, family, NGOs...

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While defending its stand to have online registration for Covid vaccinations, the Centre has submitted before the Supreme Court that citizens who have no access to CoWIN app, can get assistance from Common Service Centres established by gram panchayats at grassroot levels.

Centre has stated that such persons without digital access can also take help from friends, family, NGOs and Common Service Centres for COWIN registration.

"...citizens who do not have access to digital resources can take help from family, friends, NGOs, and above referred Common Service Centres (CSC), etc., for online registration in Co-WIN", the Central Government said in its affidavit.

The registration through the Co-Win app introduced by the Central Government is necessary to get slots for COVID vaccination.

Referring to the Common Service Centres, the Central government has stated that these centres provide access to the internet to a vast variety of persons who may not be adept in using it or may not have direct access to it.

Centre has further said that almost all gram panchayats have established these common service centres which have a digital platform to be used by the people. These CSCs and its infrastructure is widely and effectively used in rural areas for various purposes and is found to be an effective module taking the development to the grass root levels.

Centre has stated that much of India resides in rural areas which are governed by local self governments at grass root levels like Panchayats, and these grass root level bodies are very successfully representing rural India in all schemes of both State and Centre.

The submissions have been made through an affidavit filed by the Centre in compliance with the order of the Supreme court dated April 30, 2021 in Suo Moto case regarding distribution of essential supplies and services during the pandemic.

The Centre's submission have been in made in response to supreme court's direction seeking response from Centre regarding initiatives, if any started by Central and State Governments have introduced any initiatives for ensuring the immunisation of persons who do not have access to digital resources.
"Whether the Central and State Governments have introduced any initiatives for ensuring the immunization of persons who do not have access to digital resources as otherwise the mandatory requirement of registration over the Co-WIN digital portal for persons in the age group of18-44 years will deprive a large class of citizens of vaccination", a bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat had asked the Centre.
In response, Centre has opined that online registration will effectively avoid any such overcrowding as different time slots are given in advance to each of the applicant after online registration to ensure that at any given point of time, crowding in the vaccination area is avoided.

The Central government has informed the top Court that presently, for vaccination of the 18-44 years age group, only online system of registration and booking is available which is a decision taken keeping in mind several administrative factors and for effective vaccine administration.

According to the Centre, considering that doses of vaccine are not unlimited and there are constraints of production capacities, permitting walk in vaccination or registration is anticipated to result in overcrowding at the vaccination centres, defeating the very purpose of vaccination.

The Court had directed Central Government to clarify the following issue in order to ensure the protection of the fundamental rights to equality and to life and personal liberty for all persons eligible to take the vaccine from 1 May 2021:

"Whether the Central and State Governments have introduced any initiatives for ensuring the immunisation of persons who do not have access to digital resources as otherwise the mandatory requirement of registration over the Co-WIN digital portal for persons in the age group of 18-44 years will deprive a large class of citizens of vaccination" the top Court had asked the Centre.

Also from the Centre's affidavit :

Price Factor Of Vaccines Won't Impact Ultimate Beneficiary As States Have Declared Free Vaccination : Centre Tells Supreme Court

"COVID Vaccination Policy Conforms To Constitutional Mandate, Executive Needs Discretion, Requires No Interference By Court,: Centre Tells Supreme Court


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