More than applause, healthcare workers
need safe working conditions (Indian Express)
Mains Paper 2: Health
Prelims level: The epidemic diseases (amendment) ordinance 2020
Mains level: Major provisions under the act for the provisions of the Welfare of
Ever since the dawn of a post-COVID-19 reality, the world’s focus has
temporarily shifted from geopolitical faultlines, like belligerent
neighbours and trade wars, to a human catastrophe that is still unfolding.
On at least three occasions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced
mass acts of appreciation for healthcare workers, the last one being the
show of support from the armed forces. But this has not led to sensitive
handling of the needs of healthcare workers (HCWs) and an appreciation of
the issues plaguing them.
The epidemic diseases (amendment) ordinance 2020:
The government took a laudable initiative by promulgating The Epidemic
Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 to check the acts of violence —
including social ostracization — perpetrated by insensitive landlords and
However, the implementation of the law remains a concern: HCWs continue
to suffer discrimination even while being praised in social media posts and
The ordinance provides a broad definition to “acts of violence” and by
extension, provides better protection, at least on paper. This has, however,
failed to transpire into action — cases of assault by police continue to
make headlines. The government should embark on a sensitisation exercise
that should complement the blitz of the sporadic acts of applause.
While social stigma has been partially addressed, the macro-level steps
taken by the government, especially with regards to the procurement of PPEs
for the frontline workers, leave a lot to be desired.
The ICMR, which doesn’t have any history or
The ordinance to amend the Epidemics Act, 1897 offers too little to the
HCWs. There is no law to deal with the welfare of healthcare workers. The
Delhi Medical Council’s recommendation to the state for compensation to
medical staff who fall sick or succumb to the virus, while on duty, also
doesn’t address the root cause of the problem.
The last major step in this regard was taken by
Q1. With reference to the employees’ provident fund, consider the
following statements: 1. Union Finance Minister has announced reduction of statutory provident
fund contribution by both employers and employees to 12 percent of basic wages.
2. The decision will be applicable on all the establishments covered under the
Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).
Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2