Odisha govt to continue Rs 50 lakh ex-gratia scheme if any Covid warrior dies on duty

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Bhubaneswar, Apr 29 (PTI) The Odisha government Thursday said that the state administration will continue with its earlier scheme of providing ex-gratia of Rs 50 lakh if a Covid warrior dies while on duty.

In a notification, the Health and Family Welfare department said, 'Keeping in view the second surge of COVID- 19, Government has been pleased to decide to continue with the earlier policy guideline and allow payment of financial assistance of Rs 50 lakh to the spouse/next of kin of any person drafted by government or its agencies to perform COVID-19 related duties and succumbs to it while in active line of duty.' The affected family will be eligible for the compensation, provided the deceased was not covered under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package- Insurance Scheme (PMGKP) for health workers fighting COVID-19, the order said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had last year announced an ex-gratia of Rs 50 lakh for family members of Covid warriors, including healthcare personnel, ASHA and Anganwadi workers, and policemen engaged on COVID-19 duty who died of the infection.

Meanwhile, the Odisha government has revised its earlier order for the functioning of its offices following a steep rise in COVID-19 cases in the state.

As per an order issued by the General Administration and Public Grievances department, 'Keeping in view the number of employees infected, the departments shall be at liberty to decide the scale of operations to further reduce the number of employees who will attend office.' In extreme cases, the government asked offices to close for disinfection or function with only skeletal staff .

Officers/staff who are not attending office and have been provided Virtual Private Network (VPN) will work from home, it said.

The officials must be available to attend to any office work of urgent nature on short notice and be available on telephone at all times, an official said.

Earlier, the state government had directed offices to function with 50 per cent strength of employees (except officers of the rank of deputy secretary and above who shall attend the office daily) from April 19. PTI COR AAM MM MM