COVID-19 Current Affairs - 2020

Enrolments in ESIC Social Security Scheme increases to 821,000

On May 23, 2020, the payroll data of the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) was released. The data says that around 821,000 new members have joined ESIC social security scheme.

Highlights

The data was released by National Statistical Office (NSO). According to the data the subscribers to the scheme in 2018-19 were 14.9 million and it increased to 38.3 million in March 2020.

The NSO report issues data of several social security schemes such as PFRDA, EPFO. This is being done since 2018 covering the period 2017-18.

ESIC

The Employment State Insurance Scheme was launched in 1952 under the Employees State Insurance Act, 1948. The act was the first legislative social security step for workers in India.

The scheme was designed to help employees fight against their sickness, disablement, maternity and death due to employment.

Recent Developments in the Scheme

In June 2020, the Government of India reduced the rate of contribution under the scheme. The employer contribution was reduced from 4.75% to 3.25% and Employee contribution was reduced from 1.75% to 0.75%. Also, the employees that are earning Rs 137 or less per day are exempted from payment of their contribution.

Recently, to meet the salary bills of the workers during COVID-19 lock down period, the Government of India ruled to appropriate funds of ESIC

Advisory on use of Hydroxychloroquine revised

On May 23, 2020, the Indian Council of Medical Research has revised its advisory on the use of HCQ (Hydroxychloroquine). Under the new advisory guidelines, the HCQ should be given only on the prescription of a registered medical practitioner.

Highlights

The advisory was issued after the Joint Monitoring Group held its meeting. The meeting was attended by ICMR, NCDC (National Centre for Disease Control), WHO (World Health Organization) and National Disaster Management Authority.

New Advisory

The new advisories included the following

  • The advisory has included three new categories to whom HCQ shall be prescribed as prophylactic treatment. They are as follows
    • Asymptomatic Health care workers working in non-COVID hospitals
    • Asymptomatic frontline workers that include workers employed in containment zones
    • Paramilitary and police personnel
  • The In-Vitro testing of HCQ has showed reduction of infectivity of COVID-19.
  • The drug is not prescribed for children under 15 years of age.
  • The use of HCQ on high risk population has also been revised.
  • The drug has to be provided only through prescription of a medical practitioner. Initially the use of the drug was allowed in asymptomatic patients without prescriptions.

Why were the advisories revised?

The data on assessment of using HCQ as prophylactic treatment says the following

  • Around 1,323 health care workers faced mild adverse effects
  • Some faced nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain.
  • Some other health care worker faced cardio-vascular effects as well.