Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo on the coronavirus vaccination certificates creates awareness about following Covid-appropriate behaviour even after inoculation, the Centre said on Tuesday.

Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Bharti Pravin Pawar gave the explanation in response to a question on the matter by Congress Rajya Sabha MP Kumar Ketkar.

“Given the context of the pandemic, its evolving nature and the fact that following of Covid-appropriate behaviours has emerged as one of the most critical measures for preventing the spread of disease,” Pawar said in her reply.

Modi’s photo and message reinforces awareness about this aspect, the Union minister claimed. She added that the format of the vaccine certificate was compliant with norms set by the World Health Organization.

Opposition parties have raised objections on featuring Modi’s photo on the vaccine certificate generated through the CoWin platform.

During Assembly elections in four states and the Union Territory of Puducherry earlier this year, the Trinamool Congress had filed a complaint on the matter with the Election Commission.

In his letter to the poll body, Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien said that by using his photograph, Modi was “blatantly misusing official machinery” ahead of the Assembly polls and taking away credit from healthcare workers. The Election Commission then directed the Centre to remove pictures of the prime minister from vaccination certificates in poll-bound states.

State governments in Jharkhand, Punjab and Chhattisgarh also removed Modi’s photo from the certificates when states were providing vaccines to those in the 18-45 age group. However in June, the Centre took over procurement of vaccines for the age group from states.

“All states/UTs [Union Territories] are using CoWin application for Covid-19 vaccination and vaccination certificates are generated through CoWin in a standard format,” Pawar said in her reply on Tuesday.