Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a Rs 50 lakh insurance cover for healthcare workers at the forefront of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday. The Finance Minister made this announcement as part of the economic stimulus package to deal with the impact of the 21-day countrywide lockdown to prevent spread of the virus.
This insurance scheme includes government hospitals and healthcare centres. It covers safai karamcharis, ward boys, nurses, paramedics, technicians, doctors, specialists and other health workers fighting COVID-19.
“Any health professional who while treating Covid-19 patients meets with some accident, then he/she would be compensated with an amount of Rs 50 lakh under the scheme.”
The Union government announced that this would include government health centres, wellness centres and hospitals of the Centre as well as of states. The scheme is expected to cover 22 lakh people.
She applauded the role played by doctors and other workers in the health sector and said that they are being called 'gods in white attire' by the public and coronavirus-affected patients alike.
The measures may come as a major relief for the health workers who are putting their lives at stake while treating coronavirus patients. Some healthcare workers across the world, including in India, have been infected.
The minister also announced an economic relief package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore for the poor and migrant workers under the Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan Yojana.
The scheme includes distribution of 5 kg of wheat or rice and one kg of preferred pulses free-of-cost every month over the next three months to 80 crore poor across the country and Rs 500 per month for next three months to as many of 20.5 crore women Jan Dhan Account holders. The government will front-load Rs 2,000 paid to farmers in first week of April under existing PM Kisan Yojana to benefit 8.69 crore farmers.
The number of COVID-19 cases climbed to 649 in India and the death toll rose to 13, with one death reported each from Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh, according to the Health Ministry.
With inputs from agencies