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Govt to give life insurance cover up of Rs 35 lakh to FCI officials & labourers




Ram Vilas Paswan
Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan | PIB

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New Delhi: Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Friday announced a life insurance cover of up to Rs 35 lakh per person to over 1 lakh FCI officials and labourers in case they succumb to COVID-19 within six months of performing duty from the day of lockdown on March 24.

State-owned Food Corporation of India (FCI) is the Centre’s nodal agency that is engaged in procurement of foodgrains at a minimum support price (MSP) directly from farmers and distributes the same at a subsidised rate to over 81 crore ration card holders in the country.

Currently, there is a provision to provide compensation to family members of FCI officials in case of death due to terrorist attack, bomb blast, mob violence and natural disasters. However, regular and contractual labourers are not included.

“It has been decided to provide Jeevan Bima Surakha (life insurance cover) to over 1 lakh FCI officials, including 80,000 labourers, working in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis,” Paswan said in a statement.

The life insurance cover will be given to those who succumb to COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, within six months of performing duty during the lockdown starting March 24, he said.

Paswan said a life insurance cover of Rs 15 lakh per person will be provided to regular labourers, Rs 10 lakh to contract labourers, while other FCI officials will get up to Rs 25-35 lakh.

The category-1 FCI officials will get life insurance cover of up to Rs 35 lakh per person, category II up to Rs 30 lakh per person and category III and IV will get Rs 25-35 lakh per person, he added.

“The government is committed to protecting corona warriors who are risking their life and serving the nation,” Paswan added.

Last month, the government had approved medical insurance to all doctors, nurses, para medics and staff working in treating COVID-19 patients.

The government has imposed lockdown till April 14 to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Also read: Modi govt’s Covid-19 package not enough, people need food security: Sachin Pilot


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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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