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India's Covid-19 Emergency Response Package: Phase II

  • 09 Jul 2021
  • 3 min read

Why in News

The Union Cabinet has recently approved a Rs. 23,123 crore package to boost emergency response and healthcare systems.

  • It includes funding for 20,000 additional ICU (intensive care unit) beds and the setting up of paediatric units in all districts, ahead of a potential third wave of Covid-19 in the country.

Key Points

  • Background:
    • Phase I of Package: In March 2020, when the country was faced with the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Central Sector Scheme of Rs. 15,000 crore was announced for the "India Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Package".
      • It aimed at providing a critical impetus to the efforts of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and States/UTs, and catalysing health systems activities for pandemic management.
    • Since mid-February 2021, the country is experiencing a second wave which has spread into rural, peri-urban and tribal areas.
  • Phase II of Package:
    • The Phase-II of the Package has Central Sector (CS) and Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) components.
      • The Union government fully funds the central sector schemes, whereas centrally sponsored schemes are jointly funded by the Centre and states.
    • It would be implemented from 1st July 2021 to 31st March 2022.
  • Purpose:
    • Includes funding for paediatric units in all 736 districts, and the setting up of 20,000 ICU beds, 20% of which would be “hybrid”, that is, for adults as well as children.
      • There are apprehensions about a third wave of Covid-19 affecting children more than before.
    • It is aimed at preventing the problems observed during the second wave, including lack of transport facilities for oxygen and shortage of medicines, from happening again.
    • The Centre would provide support to its hospitals, the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences, and other institutes of national importance, for repurposing 6,688 beds for Covid-19 management.
    • Genome sequencing machines would be provided to the National Centre for Disease Control.
    • The package would also provide for the expansion of the national telemedicine platform, eSanjeevani, by increasing daily consultations from 50,000 at present to 5 lakh.
    • States would be supported to carry out at least 21.5 lakh tests a day and add 8,800 ambulances.

Source: PIB

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