RS Passes Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020

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The Rajya Sabha on Saturday passed the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020. The Bill amends the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 to include protections for healthcare service personnel combating epidemic diseases and expands the powers of the central government to prevent the spread of such diseases.

According to a report of the All India Radio, the Bill repeals the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance that was promulgated in April this year. The legislation makes harm, injury, hurt, or danger to the life of healthcare service personnel as a cognizable and non-bailable offence. It has provisions of imprisonment from three months to five years and a fine between 50 thousand rupees to two lakh rupees.

Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan while speaking on the bill said that ordinance was brought in view of the attack on the healthcare workers and the country felt the need to bring strict legislation to check such incidents in the Covid-19 pandemic situation.

He informed that the government is working on the National Public Health Act and 14 states have sent their suggestions in this regard. The House also negated the resolution moved by Binoy Viswam of CPI and K.C. Venugopal of Congress demanding disapproval of the ordinance related to the Bill.

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