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Parliamentary Committee on Management of Covid-19

  • 23 Dec 2020
  • 5 min read

Why in News

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs on the management of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, has recently submitted its report.

Key Points

  • The Committee has made a detailed assessment of four aspects:
    • Preparedness,
    • Augmentation of Health Infrastructure,
    • Social Impact, and
    • Economic Impact.
  • Preparedness:
    • Issues:
      • Migrant labourers, factory workers, daily wage earners were the worst affected due to lack of timely dissemination of the information in the district areas about the arrangements being made for food, shelter and other facilities leading to their exodus.
    • Solutions:
      • Draw up a national plan and guidelines under National Disaster Management Act 2005 and Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.
      • A separate wing shall be formed in the NDMA that will specialise in handling pandemics like Covid-19 and take a leading role in building a partnership of government with the public sector, corporates, NGOs and other stakeholders.
      • An effective functional institutional mechanism is needed for coordination between the Centre, states, and Union Territories for quick response to such a crisis in future.
  • Augmentation Health Infrastructure:
    • Issue:
      • Disproportionate availability of ICU beds in private and public sector hospitals.
      • Private hospitals are either inaccessible or not affordable for everyone.
        • Overcharging by hospitals, denial of the cashless facility, variation in levying charges towards consumables such as PPE kits, gloves, and masks, etc., or on other non-medical expenditure.
    • Solution:
      • Comprehensive Public health Act at the national level:
        • To support the Government in keeping checks and controls over the private hospitals.
        • Keep a check on the black marketing of medicines and ensure product standardization.
        • Regulatory oversight on all hospitals working in the country to prevent refusal to accept insurance claims.
        • The target should be to make Covid-19 treatment cashless for all people that are having insurance coverage.
  • Social Impact:
    • Issues:
      • Ineffective implementation of the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Act, 1979.
        • The task of identifying the location and disbursing relief measures to the migrant workers became very difficult as the Central Government did not have any data of the migrant workers and had to seek it from the States.
    • Solutions:
      • A national database on migrant workers be launched at the earliest helping in identification as well as delivering rations and other benefits.
      • The database may also include “records of returning migrant labourers including details about their source and destination, earlier employment details and the nature of their skills.
        • This would “help in skill development and planning for the transit of migrant workers” in a similar emergency in the future.
      • It recommended that until the One Nation, One Ration Card is implemented in all states/UTs, inter-state operability of ration cards should be allowed.
      • Continuation of Mid-Day Meal Scheme.
        • Ensure that the local administrations are delivering the rations/allowances in time and this should be continued until the schools reopen.
  • Economic Impact:
    • Issues:
      • Poor Implementation of Government Schemes.
      • Delay in Loan Disbursal.
      • Consumption had been severely curtailed due to huge job losses and fall in income due to the lockdown.
    • Solutions:
      • More interventions and schemes required to support the recovery and to sustain this economic revival especially for the MSME (Micro,Small and Medium Enterprises).

Parliamentary Committees

  • Broadly, parliamentary committees are of two kinds: Standing Committees and Ad Hoc Committees.
    • Standing Committees : Permanent (constituted every year or periodically) and work on a continuous basis. They can be categorized into following broad groups:
      • Financial Committees
      • Departmental Standing Committees (24)
      • Committees to Inquire
      • Committees to Scrutinise and Control
      • Committees Relating to the Day-to-Day Business of the House
      • House-Keeping Committees or Service Committees
    • Ad Hoc Committees: Ad hoc committees are temporary and cease to exist on completion of the task assigned to them.

Source:IE

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