The Centre has withdrawn the insurance scheme of Rs 50 lakh for healthcare workers who die in the line of COVID-19 duty.
The Union Health Ministry, in a circular sent out last month, informed the states about the conclusion of the Pradhan Manti Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP).
Although the Rs 50 lakh insurance scheme expires on April 24, the Union Health Ministry is holding talks with an insurance company to come up with a new dispensation, it said. As per the ministry, the Garib Kalyan Package insurance policy claims of healthcare workers will continue to be settled till April 24. Following this "a fresh insurance policy for COVID warriors will become effective."
However, the health ministry's circular, sent last month, noted 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 ministry's circular.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in the letter that although "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 circular further stated that 287 claims had been approved/paid so far by the insurance company under the scheme. However, at least 736 doctors have succumbed to COVID-19, as per the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
"Pertinent to note that only 287 doctors out of 736 deceased have been given Rs 50 lakh," said Dr. Ravi Wankhedkar, National President, IMA. Meanwhile, the Centre hasn't released the official data on the healthcare workers who passed away in the line of duty during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Centre had announced the PMGKP scheme last year as part of its Rs 1.7 lakh crore COVID relief package to provide a safety net for healthcare workers and their families.
Centre says new cover coming soon
With the reports of the Centre concluding the insurance scheme extended to healthcare workers came up, the Union Health Ministry came out with a clarification that it had not withdrawn the insurance scheme to them. The ministry further cleared that the scheme played a key psychological role in boosting the morale of the healthcare workers in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The ministry added that a new dispensation will be extended to cover the corona warriors, for which it is in talks with an insurance company.
"Garib Kalyan Package Insurance Policy Claims of Covid Warriors will continue to be settled till 24th April 2021, thereafter a Fresh Insurance Policy for Covid Warriors will become effective-MoH&FW, GoI," the ministry said.
#Unite2FightCoronaMinistry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) April 18, 2021
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package(PMGKP) was announced on March 2020, and was extended thrice till 24 April '21. It was launched to provide safety net to Health Workers to ensure that in case of any adversity due to #COVID19,their families are taken care of.
"The claims under PMGKP will be settled by the Insurance Company till 24th of April 2021. Thereafter a new dispensation will be provided to cover the Corona Warriors, for which the Ministry is in talks with the Insurance Company (New India Assurance)," it added.
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