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Free vaccines, food to cost India an additional $11billion

India will need to spend an additional 800 billion rupees ($11 billion) to provide free vaccines and food to millions of people devastated by a deadly wave of coronavirus infections, Bloomberg News said on Tuesday.

The government of the world’s second most populous nation will earmark an additional 700 billion rupees to provide food until November to the poor and other eligible groups, it said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The government may not have to tap the bond market for the funds, the sources said, citing a dividend of 991.2 billion rupees it received from the central bank and inflows expected from asset sales.

India will provide the free vaccines to all adults, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday after markets closed, in a bid to rein in a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands.