Stiff Penalties, Jail Term For Attacking Health Workers, Centre Amends Law

The Cabinet has decided to amend a 1897 epidemic law to enhance protection to health workers & slew of other decisions

The Union government has amended the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 to provide greater protection to healthcare workers against violence, assault and misbehaviour. The briefing by union minister Prakash Javadekar followed a meeting of the union cabinet held at 11 am today at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg.

These announcements come right after Amit Shah, the Minister for Home Affairs, and Harsh Vardhan, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, met with the Indian Medical Association and assured them of doctors' and health workers' safety, resulting in the IMA to call off a symbolic strike against this violence.

Following announcements were made by Javadekar on steps taken by the government.

  1. Assault on health care workers and damage to their assets and property would now be a cognizable and non-bailable offence under the amended act
  2. Investigations into such assaults to be done in 30 days. Those accused can be sentenced from 3 months to 5 years, with fines ranging from ₹50,000 to ₹5 lakh
  3. For serious assaults, sentences from 6 months to 7 years and fines from ₹1 lakh to ₹5 lakh can be imposed.
  4. If property such as cars are damaged, two times its market value would have to be paid as compensation

Further, Ayushman Bharat beneficiaries can now avail of free COVID and non-COVID health services in those hospitals that are not empaneled under the scheme. Javadekar also reiterated the coverage of ₹50 lakh insurance to healthcare workers, earlier announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on March 26.

Also Read: Cash Transfer, Free LPG, Grains: ₹1.7 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Package

Javadekar also announced that the cabinet has approved a 5% - 7% increase in the provision for phosphoric and potassic subsidies for financial year 2020 - 2021 to ₹22,186.55 crores.

Updated On: 2020-04-22T19:35:23+05:30
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