Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday requesting him to widen the ambit of the insurance scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package. Mentioning that the scheme only covered healthcare workers, he pointed out the contribution of thousands of officials who were working day and night to ensure the effective implementation of the nationwide lockdown. According to him, many such officials had contracted COVID-19 while discharging their duty.
Thus, Baghel urged the PM to include policemen, local body officials, and employees of the district administration in the Centre's insurance scheme. In the letter, Baghel also praised 'The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020', terming it as a "strong shield" for the protection of frontline workers involved in the battle against COVID-19. Currently, there are 39,980 confirmed novel coronavirus cases in India out of which 43 are from Chhattisgarh.
आज माननीय प्रधानमंत्री श्री नरेन्द्र मोदी जी को पत्र लिखकर स्वास्थ्य कर्मियों की तरह ही पुलिसकर्मी, स्थानीय निकाय और जिला प्रशासन के अधिकारी-कर्मचारियों को प्रधानमंत्री गरीब कल्याण पैकेज के अंतर्गत बीमा योजना में शामिल करने का अनुरोध किया है। @PMOIndia pic.twitter.com/DsH7l8EO41— Bhupesh Baghel (@bhupeshbaghel) May 3, 2020
On March 29, the Union government approved the insurance scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package which provides an insurance cover of Rs.50 lakh for 90 days. This will cater to 22.12 lakh public healthcare workers such as ward boys, nurses, ASHA workers, paramedics, technicians, doctors, and specialists who may be in direct contact with COVID-19 patients. The scheme includes accidental loss of life on account of the contracting COVID-19. Moreover, private hospital staff and retired, volunteer and outsourced staff drafted for COVID-19 related responsibilities shall also be eligible for the insurance scheme.
In April, President Ram Nath Kovind promulgated an ordinance amending the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 to make an attack on health workers a cognisable and non-bailable offence. The investigation in such cases has to be completed within 30 days and the verdict will have to be delivered within one year. Assault on health workers will attract a penalty of Rs.50,000 to 2 lakh and a jail term of 3 months to 5 years. If it is a serious injury, an enhanced penalty in the form of Rs.1 to 5 lakh and a jail term ranging from 6 months to 7 years will apply. Furthermore, twice the cost of the damaged property of healthcare workers will be recovered from the guilty.