In a bid to provide more support for those who have lost family members to COVID-19, the government on May 29 announced a family pension for dependents.
The benefits of the ESIC pension scheme for employment-related death would be extended to those who have died due to COVID-19.
Dependent family members of such persons will be entitled to the benefit of pension equivalent to 90 percent of the average daily wage drawn by the worker as per the existing norms. This benefit will be available retrospectively with effect from March 24, 2020, and for all such cases until March 24, 2022, the statement said.
The amount of maximum insurance benefit (under EDLI) has also been increased from Rs 6 lakh to Rs 7 lakh.
Similarly, the provision of a minimum insurance benefit of Rs 2.5 lakh has been restored and will apply retrospectively from February 15, 2020, for the next three years.
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.
As for the families of those employed as contractual/ casual workers, the government has said that the condition of continuous employment in only one establishment has been liberalised, with the benefit being made available to families of even those employees who may have changed jobs in the last 12 months preceding their death.
"These schemes will help mitigate financial difficulties faced by the family," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on the recent decisions made.Detailed guidelines of these schemes are being issued by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.