Mumbai, May 15 (PTI) The Union government told the Bombay High Court on Friday that the Rs 50 lakh insurance cover promised under the 'Pradhan Mantri Garib Kamgar Package Insurance Scheme For Health Workers' can be extended to such contractual civic workers involved in essential services who come in direct contact with COVID-19 patients.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, who appeared for the Union, said in light of the above, the contractual frontline employees of Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) could be given the benefits of the Central insurance scheme in case any of them came in direct contact with COVID- 19 patients.
Singh made the submission before Justice SJ Kathawalla.
The court was hearing a petition filed by sanitation and health workers of NMMC pointing out how thousands of them have been working each day in the lockdown without any protective gear or allowances and insurance benefits that were provided to the civic body's permanent frontline employees.
On Thursday, HC had directed the Union government to clarify whether benefits of its mass health insurance scheme could be extended to the Corporation's contract employees providing essential services during the lockdown.
Singh told HC that, as per a Press Information Bureau release issued on March 29, the benefits of the insurance scheme are to be given to all frontline healthcare workers working in private or public establishments whether as permanent or contractual employees.
The scheme is meant for those who come in direct contact with COVID-19 patients and get infected themselves, and also covers deaths of such workers due to the infection.
the PIB release stated.
Therefore, eligible contract employees of NMMC can be provided benefits, Singh said.
The petitioners, through Samaj Samata Kamgar Sangh, a trade union representing around 4000 contract workers employed as sanitation, health department and solid waste management workers, had filed the plea in HC earlier this month.
They had said that since the workers are all essential service providers, they had been working through the lockdown, putting their own health at risk.
The plea said the workers were cleaning roads and public areas, going door to door collecting garbage, clearing garbage, medical waste and sewage without adequate protective equipment.
On Thursday, Justice Kathawalla had directed that the petitioner union meet with the Corporation and contractors each Monday and procure requisite protective gear for the week. PTI AYA BNM BNM