May 1, 2021 3:55:28 am
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked officials to explore involving civil society volunteers in “non-specialised tasks” to take the pressure off the healthcare sector amid the surge in Covid-19 cases.
This was conveyed during a meeting to review the functioning of different empowered groups. The Prime Minister chaired the meeting through video conferencing.
In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said: “PM asked the officials to explore how volunteers from civil society can be utilised to lessen the pressure on healthcare sector by invoking them in non-specialised tasks.”
“It was discussed that NGOs could help to establish and maintain lines of communication between the patients, their dependents & health care personnel,” the statement said.
“Ex Servicemen could be encouraged to handle call centres for communicating with people under home quarantine,” the statement said.
During the meeting, the Empowered Group on coordinating with private sector, NGOs and international organisations, headed by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, briefed the Prime Minister “on how the government is working in active partnership with them.
Two other Empowered Groups also briefed the Prime Minister about their activities.
“The Empowered Group on Economic and Welfare measures made a presentation to PM on steps taken such as extension of PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana,” the statement said. “It was discussed that portability enabled due to One Nation One Ration Card initiative has helped to benefit more people. Insurance scheme for frontline health workers has been extended for another 6 months.”
“PM directed Central Government should work in close co-ordination with the states to ensure that the poor get the benefits of free food-grain without any issues,” it said.
On April 23, the Centre had announced the restarting of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) to provide an additional 5 kg of foodgrains per month free to beneficiaries covered by the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013.
The new version of the scheme does not, however, include an important component of last year’s PM-GKAY—1 kg pulses per month free to each household under the NFSA.
The statement further said, “PM also said that steps should be taken to expedite the settlement of pending Insurance claims so that the dependents of the deceased are able to avail of benefits in time.”
“The Empowered Group on issues relating to facilitating supply chain & logistics management gave a presentation on various advisories relating to measures to be taken to contain the pandemic,” the statement said. “PM instructed officials to plan holistically to ensure seamless movement of goods so that supply chain disruptions are avoided,” it added.
Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister also chaired the Council of Ministers meeting and discussed the second wave.
In a statement issued after the meeting, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said: “The Council of Ministers meeting noted that the present pandemic crisis is ‘once in a century crisis’ and has thrown a big challenge for the world.”
“PM Narendra Modi said that all arms of the Government are working unitedly & rapidly to deal with the situation. He also urged the Ministers to stay in touch with people of their respective regions, help them and keep getting their feedback. He stressed upon the need to ensure that issues at the local level are promptly identified and addressed,” the Ministry said. “The support measures to the vulnerable population in the form of provision of food-grains and financial support to Jan Dhan account holders were also pointed out,” the Ministry statement said.
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