ORDINANCE promulgated making attacks on healthcare providers maximum punishment for 7 years and expeditious disposal of such cases

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The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, April 22  approved promulgation of Ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897  making acts of violence against the healthcare workers as cognizable and non-bailable offences. As its provision to provide compensation for injury to healthcare service personnel or for causing damage or loss to the property. Briefing media, Minister of Information & Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar said that health workers who are trying to save the country from this COVID-19 pandemic are unfortunately facing attacks.  Javadekar said, no incident of violence or harassment, against them will be tolerated. He said the investigation  into the cases of attack on healthcare workers will be completed within 30 days and judgment will be pronounced within one  year. The accused of the attack can attract a punishment ranging from 3 months to 5 years and a fine from  50 thousand rupees to  2 lakh rupees. He said, in case of grievous injuries, the accused can be sentenced from 6 months to 7 years and they can also be penalized from one lakh to 5 lakh rupees. If damage is done to the vehicles or clinics of healthcare workers, then a compensation amounting to twice the market value of the damaged property will be taken from the accused. Javadekar also said that in the last three months, the government has taken several steps in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. The government took the decision of providing 50 lakh rupees insurance cover each  for all healthcare workers including doctors, nurses and  ASHA  workers. Under Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana,  the beneficiary will get the treatment in COVID hospital free of cost in case of coronavirus infection and in case of non- Covid diseases, the beneficiary will also be eligible to get the treatment in non-empanelled hospitals free of cost through the certificate  issued by the government hospital.  Earlier during the day, Indian Medical Association (IMA) called off its symbolic protest on April 23 against  attacks on doctors across the country after Union Home Minister Amit Shah assured them of full support on Wednesday. ’Considering the immediate high-level response of government and solid assurances given by the Home Minister himself, it is decided that the White alert protest of April 22 and Black Day of April 23 stand withdrawn to maintain the unity and integrity of our country,” IMA said in an official statement. Shah along with Union Health Minister Harshvardhan held a video-conference with the doctors and representatives of the IMA.Addressing the doctors, the Home Minister empathized with the medics and paramedics who in various states are being attacked while fighting ncoronavirus and assured them to ensure protection. He appreciated  dedication and services of the healthcare workers when the nation is facing an unprecedented crisis. Safety and dignity of our doctors at their workplace is non-negotiable. It is our collective responsibility to ensure a conducive atmosphere for them at all times, HM Amit Shah said. I have assured doctors that Modi govt is committed to their cause and appealed to reconsider their proposed protest. The IMA was planning to stage protests against assaults on some doctors and healthcare workers engaged in COVID-19 duties. There have been reports of doctors being abused, beaten and denied entry into residences. Families of at least two doctors, who succumbed to the novel coronavirus in Shillong and Chennai, had faced opposition while performing their last rites as the locals claimed that burying them in their localities might the spread virus.(courtesy to Business Today for the picture)

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