Parliamentary Standing Committee recommendation on the management of COVID-19 situation

News: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has submitted its report to the Rajya Sabha Chairman on the management of Covid-19 situation.

Facts:

Key Suggestions given by Panel:

Panel has given suggestion on the four aspects:

  1. The country’s preparedness
  2. Augmentation of health infrastructure
  3. Social impact
  4. Economic impact

The Panel's Suggestions

Source: The Hindu

On Country’s preparedness

  • Separate Wing: A separate wing may be formed in the National Disaster Management Authority that will specialize in handling /managing the Pandemics like COVID-19 in the future.
  • Center-state coordination mechanism: For providing quick response to such crisis, an effective functional institutional mechanism is needed for coordination between the Centre, states, and Union Territories.

On country’s Health Infrastructure

  • Public Health Act: A comprehensive Public Health Act preferably at the National Level with suitable legal provisions to keep checks and controls over private hospitals in times of a pandemic to
    • curb black marketing of medicines
    • check the malpractices like selling of hospital beds
    • denial of the cashless facility
    • variation in levying charges towards consumables such as PPE kits, gloves etc,
  • Strengthen Public Health care System: The public sector healthcare delivery system needs to be further strengthened in all the states/ UTs and a uniform healthcare system should be established across the country to deal with the pandemic on a sustained basis in the future.

On Social Impacts

  • National Database on migrant workers should be launched at the earliest as it will help in the identification of migrant workers and also in delivering ration and other benefits to them.
  • Inter-state operability of ration cards: 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.
  • Mid-Day Meal Scheme: Central government should coordinate with local administration through state governments to ensure rations/ allowances are delivered on time.

On Economic Impacts

  • Awareness Campaigns: The Government should hold awareness campaigns on cheaper and effective repurposed medicines to prevent panic-buying of expensive drugs by the people.
  • Vaccine Authorization: Any vaccine against COVID-19 should be granted emergency use authorisation only after proper consideration and conducting its trials on a sufficient sample size.
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