India approves ordinance to protect healthcare workers, up to 7 years of jail for violators

Photo: Shaheen Abdulla/Maktoob

The Cabinet has approved an ordinance to protect healthcare workers from violence on Wednesday.

Union minister Prakash Javadekar said the government will not tolerate the attacks on the healthcare workers in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Javadekar said the government will amend the Epidemics Diseases Act, 1897 to make the attacks on healthcare workers a cognisable and punishable offense.

Those found guilty of attacking healthcare workers will face imprisonment and fine of Rs 50,000 to 2 lakh rupees and carries imprisonment from 3 months to 5 years if anyone found guilty, said Union minister Prakash Javadekar.

In cases of severe injury to workers, the jail term will be increased to six months to seven years with a fine of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. If there is damage done to the vehicles or clinics of healthcare workers, then compensation amounting to twice the market value of the damaged property will be taken from the accused.

The investigation will be completed within 30 days and the decision will be carried out within one year, he added.

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