SC Formulates National Task Force to Ensure Appropriate COVID Relief Distributions

Story Highlights
  • 12-member task force formed
  • Order issued by the bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah
  • The Centre and state governments are directed to provide complete and real time data

New Delhi: In view of the looming health crisis, the Supreme Court on Saturday constituted a 12memeber national task force that is authorized to formulate methodology for the “scientific allocation of medical oxygen” to states and Union Territories (UTs) during the pandemic. 

“This task force would be at liberty to draw upon the human resources of the Union government for consultation and information. It would also be free to formulate its modalities and procedure for working, said a bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah. The Centre and state governments are directed to provide complete and real time data to the task force. 

The rationale behind the creation of this task force at a national level is to facilitate a public health response to the pandemic based on scientific and specialised knowledge.

The SC orders come in after state governments have been accusing the Centre of not providing them with sufficient oxygen to handle the Covid-19 situation. 

Taking cognizance of the consensus that emerged during the course of hearing, the SC underscored the need to ensure that the allotments of medical oxygen to states and UTs is made on a scientific, rational and equitable basis. It added that at the same time, it must allow for flexibility to meet unforeseen demands due to emergencies which may arise within the allocated territories. 

12 members of the national task force

  • Dr Bhabatosh Biswas, former Vice-Chancellor, West Bengal University of Health Sciences, Kolkata
  • Dr Devender Singh Rana, Chairperson, Board of Management, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi
  • Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, Chairperson and Executive Director, Narayana Healthcare, Bengaluru
  • Dr Gagandeep Kang, Professor, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
  • Dr JV Peter, Director, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
  • Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairperson and Managing Director, Medanta Hospital and Heart Institute, Gurugram
  • Dr Rahul Pandit, Director, Critical Care Medicine and ICU, Fortis Hospital, Mulund (Mumbai, Maharashtra) and Kalyan (Maharashtra)
  • Dr Saumitra Rawat, Chairman and Head, Department of Surgical Gastroenterology and Liver Transplant, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi
  • Dr Shiv Kumar Sarin, Senior Professor and Head of Department of Hepatology, Director, Institute of Liver and Biliary Science (ILBS), Delhi
  • Dr Zarir F Udwadia, Consultant Chest Physician, Hinduja Hospital, Breach Candy Hospital and Parsee General Hospital, Mumbai
  • Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India (ex officio member); and
  • The Convenor of the National Task Force, who shall also be a member, will be the Cabinet Secretary to the Union Government. The Cabinet Secretary may nominate an officer not below the rank of Additional Secretary to depute for him, when necessary.

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