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Parliamentary Panel report on Covid-19 management

Topics Covered: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

Parliamentary Panel report on Covid-19 management:


Context:

Report submitted recently by the standing committee on Home Affairs.

Key Recommendations:

  1. Bring a comprehensive public health Act with suitable legal provisions to keep checks and controls over private hospitals in times of a pandemic.
  2. Curb black marketing of medicines and ensure product standardisation.
  3. The government should be proactive by holding awareness campaigns on cheaper and effective repurposed medicines to prevent people from panicking and spending a huge amounts of money on expensive drugs.
  4. There is need to have regulatory oversight on all hospitals working in the country to prevent refusal to accept insurance claims.
  5. A separate wing may be formed in the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) that will specialise in handling /managing pandemics like COVID-19 in future.
  6. Measures should be taken to avoid social stigma and fear of isolation and quarantine, by making people aware and treating them with respect and empathy.
  7. The problems being faced by farmers, non-corporate and non-farm small/micro enterprises in getting loans need to be addressed.

Need for comprehensive measures:

  1. There have been several reported instances of beds reserved for COVID-19 patients in private hospitals being sold at exorbitant rates.
  2. Also, medicines that ‘helped’ in containing the COVID-19 infection were sold at higher rates.
  3. In the initial phase of the pandemic, medical insurance was not extended to patients with COVID-19 infection.
  4. With schools shut down now for more than nine months, many children were deprived of mid-day meal. Many States continued the scheme by delivering dry ration to students at their homes or giving them allowances. But this was not uniform.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Difference between Parliamentary vs Cabinet committees.
  2. Standing vs select vs finance committees.
  3. Who appoints chairperson and members of these committees?
  4. Committees exclusive to only Lok Sabha.
  5. Committees where Speaker is the chairperson.

Mains Link:

What are Parliamentary Standing committees? Why are they necessary? Discuss their roles and functions to bring out their significance.

Sources: the Hindu.