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Clapping hands on Janata Curfew day is not enough, says petition in Supreme Court

Medical professionals are the first point of contact of the COVID-19, they are vulnerable. | File

Medical professionals are the first point of contact of the COVID-19, they are vulnerable. | File   | Photo Credit: T. Vijaya Kumar

Provide protective gear and ‘risks and hardship allowance’ to medical and non-medical professionals designated to treat patients infected with COVID-19, says activist Suhas Chakma’s plea

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition was filed on Monday in the Supreme Court for a direction to the Centre and the State governments to provide protective gear and “risks and hardship allowance” to medical and non-medical professionals designated to treat COVID-19 infected patients on par with the Army and the Central Armed Police Forces posted in conflict areas.

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“While clapping, banging utensils or ringing bells to express gratitude to those providing essential services, particularly medical professionals, at 5 p.m. on Janata Curfew day is an acknowledgement, the same is not adequate as the government of India has even failed to provide the basic protective gears to the medical professionals despite such request being made over a month ago after outbreak of the Coronavirus. Medical professionals are the first point of contact of the COVID-19, they are vulnerable,” activist and director of the Rights and Risks Analysis Group Suhas Chakma argued in his petition.

 

It said medical professionals were the frontline fighters against the virus. They should be treated on par with the Army and the Central Armed Police Forces personnel posted in designated areas of Jammu & Kashmir, Northeastern States and the Left Wing Extremist-affected areas.

“Medical and non-medical professionals such as the troops of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police quarantine centre at Chhawla area of south-west Delhi or ward caretakers have been on the frontline to treat COVID-19 patients at great personal risks to themselves and their families. These medical professionals have been working in war-like situations to save the people and guests (foreigners) of this nation,” the petition said.

It said that in February 22 last year, the risks and hardship allowance for the Central Armed Police Forces was hiked from ₹9,700 to ₹17,300 per month for personnel up to the rank of inspector and from ₹16,900 to ₹25,000 for officers. The Ministry of Defence also revised the risk and hardship allowance for the Indian Army in 2019.

Even the judges of the High Court were also provided monthly compensatory allowance for serving outside the parent High court, the petition said.

 

“While it is the duty of the Indian Army and the Central Armed Police Forces to defend the country, it is also the duty of the medical professionals and non-medical personnel to treat COVID-19 patients in the designated areas. Yet, extraordinary situations require extraordinary measures and therefore, the Union government of India has been providing risks and hardship benefits to the Indian Army and the Central Armed Police Forces deployed in the designated areas. The work of the medical professionals and non-medical personnel treating COVID-19 patients is no less important than the Indian Army and the Central Armed Police Forces deployed in certain disturbed situations,” the petitioner said.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 1:39:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/clapping-hands-on-janata-curfew-day-is-not-enough-says-petition-in-supreme-court/article31141692.ece

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