Soon after the Centre announced an ordinance to protect medical personnel from the rising incidents of violence and discrimination against them, Union Home Minister Amit Shah stated that the ordinance will go a long way in assuring the 'safety and dignity' of the healthcare workers. Taking to Twitter, the Home Minister assured that the government is committed to protecting those who are protecting India during these challenging times.
PM @narendramodi’s govt is committed to protecting those who are protecting India during these challenging times.— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) April 22, 2020
Bringing an ordinance to end violence against our doctors & health workers is a testimony of the same. This will go a long way in assuring their safety and dignity.
As per the ordinance, the government will amend the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897, and assaults on healthcare workers will be considered as cognizable and non-bailable offence whose probe will need to be done within 30 days under the supervision of a senior inspector. The judicial process and the verdict would also arrive within a year.
Earlier in the day, Indian Medical Association (IMA) President Dr Rajan Sharma lauded the ordinance and welcomed it heartily after the association called off their symbolic 'Black Day' protest. Dr.Rajan Sharma remarked, "I heartily welcome this ordinance. On behalf of every doctor and IMA member, I would like to thank the honourable Prime Minister, the honourable Home Minister and the honourable Health Minister who have done what they had promised us in the morning. In such a short span of time, it has been implemented what has been pending for so long."
Addressing a press briefing earlier in the day, Union I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar announced that the Union Cabinet had approved an ordinance to protect the health workers. Basically, the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 has been amended 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. Moreover, twice the cost of the damaged property of healthcare workers will be recovered from the guilty. Javadekar also revealed that a decision had been taken by the Cabinet whereby non-COVID patients can be freely treated even in non-panelled or COVID hospitals under the Ayushmann Bharat Yojana.