Speaking exclusively with Republic TV on Wednesday, Indian Medical Association president Dr.Rajan Sharma lauded the ordinance approved by the Union Cabinet to protect the healthcare workers. He thanked the PM, Union Home Minister and the Union Health Minister for keeping their promise. Earlier in the day, the IMA had called off their symbolic 'Black Day' protests planned for Thursday after being assured by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan that the Centre was committed to the cause of the doctors.
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. The best part about this entire thing is that the safety and protection of healthcare workers has come to the national focus. That is the main crux what we were demanding since so many years."
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.
#Cabinet approves promulgation of Ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 making such acts of violence as cognizable and non-bailable offences and to provide compensation for injury to healthcare service personnel or for causing damage or loss to the property pic.twitter.com/bzB0VMVVUs— PIB India #StayHome #StaySafe (@PIB_India) April 22, 2020