The Centre informed the Supreme Court on July 31 that four states -- Punjab, Maharashtra, Tripura, and Karnataka -- have not paid timely salaries to healthcare workers on COVID-19 duty despite a direction from the apex court, Hindustan Times reported.
Back in June, the apex court had criminalised non-payment of dues to doctors and nurses on time after a doctor had alleged that several medicos were not being paid. The doctor’s petition also mentioned that healthcare workers and doctors were not being provided facilities to isolate themselves to ensure they do not end up jeopardising the health of their family members.
Following this, the Union Health Ministry had declared that withholding salaries of doctors and nurses on COVID-19 duty would be treated as an offence under the Disaster Management Act (DMA).
Advising the Centre on how to ensure the order is implemented, the SC bench of justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy, and MR Shah said: “If the states are not complying with the directions and orders of the Central government, you are not helpless. You have to ensure that your order is implemented. You have got the power under the Disaster Management Act. You can take steps also.”
The SC bench then said that the courts should not be involved in such matters in the future and the government should be able to settle the issue of non-payment of salary on its own.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.