THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 21 May 2020 (More than applause, healthcare workers need safe working conditions (Indian Express))



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 HCWs

Context:

  • 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 neighbours.
  • However, the implementation of the law remains a concern: HCWs continue to suffer discrimination even while being praised in social media posts and WhatsApp forwards.
  • 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.

Macro-level steps:

  • 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 ....................................

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Welfare of HCWs:

  • 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 ...........................................

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Conclusion:

Prelims Questions:

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

Answer:

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Mains Questions:
Q1.  What are the major provisions .......................................?


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