With essential supplies, including of medicines and equipment, still disrupted and migrant workers stranded in various states, the government has formed 11 empowered group of officers to deal with problems arising out of the coronavirus lockdown.
The groups will deal with issues concerning medical emergency management plan, availability of hospitals, testing and quarantine facilities, availability of medical equipment such as PPEs, masks and gloves, augmenting human resources and capacity building, facilitating supply chains, coordination with private sector and NGOs, economic and welfare measures, communication and public awareness, technology and data management, public grievances and strategic issues relating to lockdown.
“The measures taken hitherto have been effective in containing the pandemic so far. However, considering the gravity and magnitude of the challenges, which are emerging with every passing day, there is a pressing need to augment and synchronise efforts cutting across various Ministries/Departments,” a notification released by the Ministry of Home Affairs said on Sunday.
Announcing the formation of the empowered group of officers, it said, “These Groups are empowered to identify problem areas and provide effective solutions thereof; delineate policy, formulate plans, strategize operations and take all necessary steps for effective and time-bound implementation of these plans/ policies/ strategies/ decisions in their respective areas.”
The notification said that in matters involving procurement, the Empowered Group shall take into consideration special instructions given to the departments vide Department of Expenditure on March 27. It said it will take suitable decisions and make recommendations in this regard.
“In such matters, the concerned Ministries/ Departments shall take immediate action to implement all the decisions/ recommendations of the Empowered Group. During the deliberations, if any of the Empowered Groups is of the view that a particular aspect is not within the domain of that Group and falls within the scope of any other Group(s), they may seek the guidance of the Cabinet Secretary, ” it said.
Emphasising the dynamic nature of the challenges arising out of the COVID-19 outbreak, the notification said, “The pandemic of COVID 19 has engulfed the entire world posing serious challenges for the health and economic security of millions of people worldwide. During this unprecedented situation for effectively addressing issues, constraints and scenarios, a well-planned and coordinated emergency response has become essential.”
Here is the list of the 11 groups:
The empowered group of officers are all headed by secretary-level bureaucrats and members of Niti Aayog, along with representation from various government departments concerned.
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