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Over 900 Central government employees died from March to May

Written by  Published in Home Town Friday, 28 April 2017 05:53
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An official said in nearly all of the Central ministries, at least 20-30% of the people were affected by the pandemic

Over 900 Central government employees died from March to May, up from the 600 during the same period last year, officials aware of the matter said. The deaths coincided with the second Covid-19 second wave which overwhelmed the country. It was unclear whether all these deaths were because of the pandemic.

An official said in nearly all of the Central ministries, at least 20-30% of the people were affected by the pandemic. In April, the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) was one of the worst-hit by Covid-19 with nearly 80 officials testing positive for the disease. The ministry of information technology was forced to ask most of its officials to work from home for two weeks as many of them contracted the disease.

Officials said nearly 50% of the agriculture ministry staff contracted Covid-19. G Narayana Raju, the secretary of the legislative department, ministry of law and justice, was among those who died of Covid-19 in May. Dayawanti Srivastava, Sanjay Kumar Srivastava, and Pushpavant Sharma from the Indian Information Service also succumbed to the disease.

According to a second official, 73 people working at the Central Secretariat died of Covid-19. “There is a lot of congestion in certain sections... if one person gets the infection, it travels very quickly,” the official said. “The officials try to maintain social distancing and wear masks but even then, many have contracted the virus. Overcrowding is a major reason for the spread of this highly communicable disease.”

The official added people across departments also realised the urgency of the work, which prompted them to attend office. “Even I contracted Covid, but the work is such that we must attend office,” the official said. “There are nearly 150 officials associated with the Central Secretariat who are still positive. Moreover, it is not just us, but even our family members who have suffered because of this.”

The government has introduced a scheme to ensure the immediate release of pensions to the families of the employees who have died due to the pandemic.

The second official said that considering the toll the pandemic has taken, the government should consider more compassionate appointments (of family members in case of untimely deaths) to support those who have suffered. “At present, compassionate appointments stand at 5%. The government should consider expanding this.”

On Monday, the DoPT asked officials of the rank of undersecretary and above to attend office on all working days. Officials below the rank will continue to work at 50% staff strength, with staggered timings in place.

The department reversed its order from the third week of April, wherein the government reintroduced staggered timings. Source : ht


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