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Cashless medical treatment for poll officials who get COVID-19

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has told the States to make arrangements for cashless medical treatment and special quarantine facilities for security forces who may contract COVID-19 while on election duty.

The ECI has also decided that a compensation of ₹30 lakh would be given to the families of the security and polling personnel who die of COVID-19 while on election duty. So far, the ex-gratia compensation has been in place for security personnel killed in violent attacks while on poll duty.

The ECI’s instructions come at a time when poll authorities and political parties are trying to figure out the modalities of elections during the pandemic, ahead of the Bihar Assembly polls later this year.

On July 20, the ECI wrote to the Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) of all States and Union Territories that medical treatment facilities for poll officials would be extended to all Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) and State Armed Police (SAP) personnel in case they contract the Coronavirus. District Election Officers were asked to tie up with hospitals in advance in order to have the facility ready till the declaration of results.

The ECI then wrote to all CEOs and Chief Secretaries of States and UTs on July 22, saying it had modified its April 10, 2019 instruction on payment of ex-gratia compensation to poll officials killed while on duty. The 2019 instruction had been to pay ₹30 lakh as compensation to the families of poll officials in case of death “caused due to any violent acts of extremist or unsocial elements like road mines, bomb blasts, armed attacks etc”. The ECI has now decided to add death due to COVID-19 to the list.

In another letter on July 22, it clarified that engineers of Bharat Electronics Limited/Electronics Corporation of India who are engaged in first-level checking of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), commissioning of EVMs and poll and counting day duty would be treated as poll officials. These engineers would be extended the same cashless medical treatment and ex-gratia in case of COVID-19 infection or death.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2020 7:57:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cashless-medical-treatment-for-poll-officials-who-get-covid-19/article32220751.ece

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