Lok Sabha Approves Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, Corona Warriors Will Be Given Protection

New Delhi : Parliament approved the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill on Monday, which will provide the protection to health workers battling epidemics. During the discussion on this bill in the Lok Sabha, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that for the last 3-4 years, our government has been continuously adopting a holistic and inclusive initiative in dealing with topics like epidemics.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that in this direction, the government is working on creating a ‘National Public Health Act’. He said that the Law Department had suggested to know the views of the states in this regard. He said that in the first two years we got suggestions only from four states Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Goa and Himachal Pradesh. We have now received suggestions from 14 states.

The Minister of Health and Family Welfare said that the process of framing the proposed National Public Health Act is in progress. He mentioned several other works in relation to research on viruses, including the preparation of a genome chain.

He said that in the last nine months, the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, together with the states, carried out campaigns and made necessary strategies to fight COVID19. The Prime Minister himself interacted with the Chief Ministers of the states several times. Following the Minister’s reply, the House approved it and rejected the amendments of some members. The Upper House had approved the Pandemic (Amendment) Bill a few days ago.

This bill has been brought in place of the related ordinance. The ordinance in this regard was issued in April. Modification has been done in the epidemic diseases act 1897 through this bill. It has been proposed to provide protection to health workers battling pandemics. At the same time, the Bill also provides for expanding the powers of the Central Government to prevent the spread of diseases.

Provision has been made to charge penalty under this for causing harm, injury, damage or threat to the lives of health workers, obstructing the duties and damage to property or documents of healthcare personnel. Under this, a provision of fine up to a maximum of five lakh rupees and a maximum punishment of seven years has been made.

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