The finance ministry has asked state governments to treat bankers on priority basis for COVID-19 vaccination when the third phase begins from May 1.
Earlier this week, the government decided to open COVID vaccination for all adults above the age of 18 years starting May 1 with the pandemic surging to record highs and fatalities rising with each passing day.
The vaccine makers have been directed to reserve 50 per cent doses for the Centre and remaining for states and the open market.
The Department of Financial Services, in a letter addressed to chief secretaries of states, said the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs on Management of COVID-19 pandemic and related issues, in its 229th report, appreciated the efforts and pain taken by the banking sector for providing uninterrupted service during the COVID-19 outbreak and consequent lockdown.
The Committee placed on record the good work done by them and has also recognised them as COVID-19 warriors, it said.
The letter further said all the officers/staff of banks, insurance companies and other service providers who have not been vaccinated so far are anxious to get themselves vaccinated at the earliest.
“In the light of the recent Government’s decision to open up vaccination to all persons above the age of 18 years from 1st May 2021… kindly consider putting in place a special dispensation in your State/UT, to enable the aforementioned employees/ staff to avail of vaccination easily and on priority basis,” it said.
This will go a long way in assuring them about their safety and will also boost their morale in continuing to provide their best services to customers, it added.
The ministry said the respective convenors of the State Level Bankers’ Committees (SLBCs) in each state will coordinate with respective chief secretaries in this regard.
Earlier this month, the Department of Financial Services requested the health and home ministries for issuing instructions for enabling COVID-19 vaccination of employees of banks and those involved in the banking activities.
Out of total strength of 13.5 lakh employees in the banking sector, about 600 deaths due to COVID-19 were recorded last year, as per the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) data.
The communication to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Home Affairs also highlighted the important role of bankers during disbursal and withdrawal of benefits transferred under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
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