The Rs50 Lakh Insurance for Healthcare Workers is Over; MoHFW Promises New Scheme
While the entire country, especially the frontline workers, including doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are making every effort to save lives amidst the second wave of COVID-19, the Rs50 lakh insurance cover given to them no longer exists. The insurance offered to healthcare workers under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) expired on 24 March 2021. While there is no extension for this scheme, the ministry of health & family welfare (MoHFW), says it is in talks with New India Assurance Co Ltd to provide insurance cover to 'Corona Warriors.'
To provide safety net to health workers to ensure that, in case of any adversity due to COVID-19, their families are taken care of, the government in March 2020 had launched the Rs50 lakh insurance scheme under the PMGKP. This scheme was extended three times till 24 March 2021, and claims were allowed to be filed till 24 April 2021.
However, the scheme lapsed since no further extension was given to it. Rajesh Bhushan, secretary of MoHFW, in a letter to chief secretaries and administrators to all states and Union territories (UTs), says, "As the duration of the insurance policy is coming to an end on 24 March 2021, all the claims till the midnight of 24th March would be eligible for coverage under the scheme. Further, it has been decided to provide one month's window up to 24 April 2021 for final submission of all the eligible claims to the insurance company along with the requisite supporting documents."
This, in other words, means, from 24 March this year till date, the 'Corona Warriors' are devoid of any insurance cover.
In a series of tweets, the MoHFW came forward to justify its decision. It says, "The scheme has played a crucial psychological role in boosting the morale of the health workers fighting COVID-19. This has provided a safety net to the dependents of Corona warriors who lost their lives to COVID-19 and 287 claims have been paid by the insurance company so far."
The ministry also says it is in talks with New India Assurance for providing similar type of insurance cover to healthcare professionals fighting COVID-19.
Most doctors who are active on the frontline and have been saving lives of corona patients for the past one year, are feeling let down by the government. "This is very demotivating and risky," says one Corona Warrior.
"Very sad ... irresponsible and totally wrongly timed," says another doctor.
Over the past one year, as many as 734 doctors, who were the frontline 'Corona Warriors', have lost their lives in the line of duty. The Rs50 lakh insurance may not compensate for the loss, but it was providing some monetary relief to the families of the deceased Corona Warriors.
According to the data released by MoHFW, over the past 24 hours, India has reported 274,000 fresh COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day spike ever, pushing the country's overall COVID-19 tally to over 15 million.
This is the fifth consecutive day that the country has registered over 200,000 COVID-19 cases, taking the total tally to 15,061,919 cases. India on Sunday recorded 261,000 new cases, 235,000 on Saturday, 200,000 and 217,000 lakh cases on Thursday and Friday, respectively.