Lok Sabha passes Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill

• Lok Sabha passed The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill whereby fresh insolvency proceedings will not be initiated at least for six months starting from March 25 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier the bill was passed in Rajya Sabha.

• Bill will replace The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 issued by government to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. The Act provides for the prevention of the spread of dangerous epidemic diseases.

• Bill amends the Act to include protections for healthcare personnel combatting epidemic diseases and expands the powers of central government to prevent the spread of such diseases.

Key provisions of the Bill:

• Definitions of healthcare service personnel and what all constitutes act of violence against them are provided.

• Commission or abetment of such violence will be punishable with imprisonment and with a fine.

• Offender would be presumed to be guilty unless proved otherwise.

• Central government will be able to regulate the inspection of any bus, train, goods vehicle, ship, vessel, or aircraft leaving or arriving at any land port, port, or aerodrome. Further, it may regulate the detention of any person intending to travel by these means.

Definition of healthcare service personnel:

• Healthcare service personnel are defined as persons who are at risk of contracting the epidemic disease while carrying out duties related to the epidemic. They include:

• Public and clinical healthcare providers such as doctors and nurses.

• Any person empowered under the Act to take measures to prevent the outbreak of the disease.

• Other persons designated as such by the state government.

Definition of Act of violence:

• Act of violence includes any of the following acts committed against a healthcare service personnel:

• Harassment impacting living or working conditions.

• Harm, injury, hurt, or danger to life.

• Obstruction in discharge of duties.

• Loss or damage to the property or documents of the healthcare service personnel.

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Mains Paper 2: Polity

Prelims level: Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill

Mains level: Highlights the major provisions of the bill

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