Incidents of violence against health workers declined dramatically after ordinance: Harsh Vardhan

Moving an amendment bill in this regard for passage in the Upper House, the health minister said after the ordinance, such incidents against healthcare workers have declined.

Published: 20th September 2020 02:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th September 2020 02:03 AM   |  A+A-

Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan (Photo | PTI)


NEW DELHI: A "dramatic" decline in the number of incidents of violence against health workers has been witnessed in the country after an ordinance was brought, making such activities a non-bailable offence, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan informed the Rajya Sabha on Saturday.

The government brought an ordinance on April 22 to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 to make incidents of violence on health workers treating COVID-19 patients a non-bailable offence with provisions of penalty and a jail term of up to seven years.

Moving an amendment bill in this regard for passage in the Upper House, the health minister said after the ordinance, such incidents against healthcare workers have declined.

"We have all noticed that there has been a dramatic decline in the incidents of violence against health workers all over the country," he said.

Vardhan explained that the ordinance had to be brought as there was a rising number of incidents of harassment and violence against health workers while they were returning from their duty amid a lack of awareness about the coronavirus.

They were treated with stigma and not allowed to enter their houses or residential societies.

They were beaten up and chased away when they went out for surveillance, he said, adding that this had significantly reduced the morale of the health workers.

"Everyone was feeling sad and bad. That was the time the government thought of taking a proactive step. When the government reviewed, it found there were minimal laws and powers in some states. There was a need to have a central law to put in place a prohibitory mechanism to stop such activities," Vardhan said.

Binoy Viswam of the Communist Party of India (CPI), who moved a statutory resolution on the bill, said there are serious lapses in it as it does not address the issue of violence on health professionals within the hospitals.

Many hospitals are not paying the salaries of the doctors and nurses, PPE kits are not being given and safety concerns are being ignored -- these issues have not been addressed by the bill, he added.

Participating in the debate, Saroj Pandey of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spoke in favour of the bill and said it aims to instill confidence in the health workers, who are treating patients during the COVID-19 pandemic risking their lives.

She also attacked Neeraj Dangi of the Congress, who spoke just before her on the bill without touching upon the sensitive issue of health workers.

She said it is saddening to see that the opposition member chose to politicise even the issue of COVID-19 and did not even bother to mention the bill in his maiden speech.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp