Apr 29, 2021

India’s COVID-19 vaccination pricing policy obtains backlash

Tilly Kenyon
2 min
Faced with a record-breaking second wave of COVID-19, India is scrambling to get its population vaccinated
Faced with a record-breaking second wave of COVID-19, India is scrambling to get its population vaccinated...

India’s Government’s recent strategy on vaccination against COVID-19 has drawn criticism from a variety of public healthcare experts as well as economists.

The Government recently announced that from May 1st people over the age of 18 can receive their vaccination and that makers of authorised vaccines will be able to sell 50% of their stock to state governments and private hospitals. 

In this new phase, it is up to state governments to decide whether all Indians could get their vaccines for free, the federal government already offers free shots for over 45s (along with frontline and healthcare workers). 

More than 20 states such as Rajasthan and Delhi have already announced free vaccinations for everyone at government vaccine centers. But some states are still working out their immunisation strategies. 

Anjela Taneja, lead (inequality, health, and education) for charity Oxfam, told Down To Earth: “At least 27% of the state health budget 2021 will go into just getting the vaccination done. How will the procurement of medical oxygen, ventilators, hospitals, and medicines happen?” she asked.

Vaccination costs

Calculations done by different experts suggest that vaccinating the entire population would cost the Union government somewhere between Rs 50,000-70,000 crore. The Union government had allocated Rs 35,000 crore for COVID-19 vaccination in the 2021-22 Budget.

According to Down To Earth India is the only country that produces COVID-19 vaccines and has shifted the burden onto citizens to pay for them by opening private markets for them. No other vaccine-producing country has done so.

“Rich people will be vaccinated before poor people and may have access to different vaccines. It may also drive up prices for vaccines as a commercial product, tempt manufacturers to prioritise higher-paying private sector purchasers, and lead to an increase in fraud and black-market activity,” Duke University said.

Keshav Desiraju, former union health secretary suggested that the government should do vaccines in stages, scientifically prioritising population groups who will receive vaccines as a public good. Desiraju called the decision ‘criminal’ and warned of price wars among states. “It can lead to hoarding, corruption, and vaccine riots,” he said.

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Jun 7, 2021

Coupa Launches US$50 Million Ventures Fund

3 min
Business spend management (BSM) is coming back ─ and with its return, Coupa intends to invest in the future of its supply chain operation

Operational resilience and agility. Following the events of the last twelve months, companies have focused on these strategic areas like never before. Some, as we’ve noted, have started to wonder whether this trend will continue post-pandemic—or will we go back to the same old supply chain? Not if Coupa Software has its way. 


Last week, the company launched Coupa Ventures, a global fund that will invest US$50mn in early- and growth-stage companies that target business spend inefficiencies. “Coupa Ventures enables us to invest in a future where businesses and their suppliers can harness the power of their spend to constantly adapt, transform, and innovate”, said Rob Bernshteyn, Coupa’s Chairman and CEO. 


What’s Business Spend Management (BSM)? 

Let’s be honest, it doesn’t sound particularly sexy—it sounds like a subsection of the finance department. But business spend management, together with ERP (enterprise resource planning), CRM (customer relationship management) and HCM (human capital management) make up the core operating process of any company out there. When companies spend money, sign contracts, analyse supplier costs, take inventory or budget for the future, that’s BSM. Overall, business spend management is made up of three main areas: procuring materials, managing invoice, and handling expenses. Essentially, it’s the engine of the entire operation. 


Why Change It Up? 

According to Coupa, the next wave of BSM is now. It wasn’t always this way: in March of 2016, advisory giant Gartner claimed that BSM was dead. At that time, the firm was partly right. Companies couldn’t handle trillions of bits of data by themselves—and they were sinking as the waves of big data swept over their heads. 


But recent developments have meant that BSM isn’t fated to die just yet. “The key to optimisation is data—and not just any data”, Coupa stated. The company has supported community intelligence, in which machine learning uses anonymised data from hundreds or thousands of client companies to suggest better spend tactics. This way, companies can get better insight into their suppliers, track supply chain disruptions, and investigate procurement alternatives. 


This network effect is part of what makes Coupa Ventures so exciting. Said Eric Christopher, co-founder and CEO of Zylo, “We’re excited to join an expansive ecosystem of customers, suppliers, and partners”. 



First Companies in the Ventures Portfolio 


  • Zylo, a leading SaaS management platform that helps companies manage cloud-based applications, offers visibility into what software is being used, how much is present, and how a company can optimise its software investments. 


  • SourceDay, a leading supply chain performance solution, bridges the gap between a company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) and its supply chain network. 



At SourceDay, Coupa’s investment is heralded as a chance for the company to really take off. “The investment from Coupa Ventures will...enable our joint customers to save money and leverage supplier performance as a competitive edge”, said Tom Kieley, SourceDay CEO. “We’re honoured to expand our relationship with the Coupa ecosystem”. 


Looking ahead, Coupa will capitalise on community intelligence to help its partners make smarter spending decisions. “[Organisations will] place bets on which investments will quickly pay off to accelerate their growth and resilience in the post-pandemic economy”, said J.J. Freitag, senior vice president of Corporate Development at Coupa. “[And] we’re looking to back the best ideas across Europe and beyond to help businesses build back even stronger”. 


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