UPDATED: April 19, 2021 10:37 IST
Amidst the raging second wave of coronavirus in India, the Centre has decided to withdraw the insurance scheme of Rs 50 lakh for the healthcare workers who die on the Covid-19 duty. In a letter, the Union health secretary has informed the states about the conclusion of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package, an insurance scheme for healthcare workers who die in the line of Covid-19 duty.
The scheme was launched to provide a safety net for healthcare workers so as to ensure that in case of any adversity due to the coronavirus pandemic, their families are taken care of. However, a circular sent out by the health ministry last month states that the insurance scheme concluded on March 24 while only 287 claims have been processed so far.
“The PMGKP: insurance scheme for the healthcare workers fighting Covid-19 was implemented with effect from 30 March 2020, initially for a period of 90 days to provide an insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh to the healthcare workers fighting the pandemic, the duration of the scheme was extended up to 24 March 2021,” stated the letter.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in the letter that while “the scheme has acted as a very effective safety net and has been able to provide relief to the healthcare workers who have lost their lives due to Covid-19, it had to be concluded on the same day”.
The letter states that 287 claims had so far been approved/paid by the insurance company under the scheme. However, according to the Indian Medical Association (IMA), at least 736 doctors have died due to the Covid-19 virus.
“Pertinent to note that only 287 doctors out of 736 deceased have been given Rs 50 lakh,” Dr Ravi Wankhedkar, National President, IMA said.
The government has not released the official data on the healthcare workers who died in the line of duty during the coronavirus pandemic.
The health secretary’s letter said all the claims till March 24 midnight would be eligible for coverage under the scheme and one month’s window will be provided for the final submission of all the eligible claims to the insurance company along with the requisite supporting documents.
The scheme, announced by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on March 26, 2020, was first implemented for 90 days and was later extended for a year. The scheme also covered workers in the private sector. The Union government had announced the scheme as part of its Rs 1.7 lakh crore Covid-19 relief package last year.