health workers
Representative photo. Image credit - Wikimedia Commons

At a time when the second wave of Covid19 is affecting different parts of India, the Centre has decided to withdraw the insurance scheme of Rs 50 lakh for the healthcare workers, who die during Covid19 duty.

The Union health secretary has dashed off a letter to the states informing them about the conclusion of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package, which is an insurance scheme for healthcare workers who die during Covid19 duty, said media reports.

The insurance scheme of Rs 50 lakh was launched by the central government to provide security to the healthcare workers so that in case of any adversity due to the Covid19 pandemic, their families are taken care of.

But according to an order issued by Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan last month, the insurance scheme concluded on March 24 and so far only 287 claims have been processed.

“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,” the letter said.

In the letter, health secretary Bhushan said “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”.

Also read: COVID19: Indian Medical Association writes to PM Modi, suggests continuous lockdown in non-essential areas

The letter said 287 claims have been approved/paid by the insurance company under the scheme so far.

The Union health ministry 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 the time period was extended for a year later.

The insurance scheme also covered workers in the private sector.

According to the Indian Medical Association (IMA), at least 736 doctors have lost their lives due to Covid19 infection.

The report quoted IMA national president Ravi Wankhedkar as saying: “Pertinent to note that only 287 doctors out of 736 deceased have been given Rs 50 lakh.”

Meanwhile, another report quoted officials in the Union Health ministry as saying that the central government is in talks with a new insurance company.

“The claims under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana will be settled by the insurance company till the 24th of April 2021,” the Unionhealth ministry said in a tweet.

“Thereafter, a new dispensation will be cover the Corona warriors, for which ministry is in talks with a new insurance company (New India Assurance),” the ministry added.

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