As told to Parliament (September 15, 2020): 169 tonnes COVID-19 biomedical waste generated daily in August

All that was discussed in the House through the day

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 15 September 2020

Novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related biomedical waste generated on an average was about 169 tonnes per day for the month of August 2020, Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ashwini Kr Choubey said in the Rajya Sabha on September 15, 2020.

The Central Pollution Control Board had prepared the guidelines for handling, treatment and disposal of biomedical waste generated during  re-treatment / diagnosis / quarantine of COVID-19 patients, he added.

These guidelines were initially issued on March 19, 2019 and had been revised four times depending on the ground situation and evolving technical guidance, Choubey stated.

The last revision of the guidelines was issued on July 14, 2020, according to the information submitted by state pollution control boards / pollution control committees as well as daily data received from the COVID-19 waste tracking app (COVID19BWM). 

Rural slowdown 

According to the Estimates of Gross Domestic  Product (GDP) for the First Quarter (April-June) of 2020-21 released by the National Statistical Office on August 31, 2020, the Gross Value Added (GVA) of only agriculture had shown a positive growth of 3.4 per cent over the corresponding quarter of 2019, Anurag Thakur, Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, said in the Rajya Sabha. 

This, he added, signalled relatively better prospects of consumption in rural India.

COVID-19 health workers deaths

Data regarding the number of healthcare staff, including doctors, nurses, support staff and ASHA workers who had been affected by and died from COVID-19 was not maintained at the Central level by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ashwini Choubey said in the Rajya Sabha.

However, a database of those seeking relief under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Insurance Package (PMGKP)’ was being maintained at the national level, he added. At least 154 health workers died due to COVID-19 according to the PMGKP database.

Migrant workers

The Government of India launched the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan on June 20, 2020, to boost employment and livelihood opportunities for migrant workers returning to villages and similarly affected citizens in rural areas, in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare said in the Lok Sabha.

The Abhiyaan was implemented on mission mode to provide employment to migrant workers who had returned to their native villages in six states namely, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, he added.

Horticultural cultivators 

No report has been received from the states regarding loss of fruit and flower crops due to the COVID-19 lockdown, Narendra Tomar told the Lok Sabha.  The governments of Goa, Karnataka and Punjab had conducted a survey on the loss of floriculture in their states, he added.

The Goa government had reported a loss of Rs 45.65 lakh in an area of 5.6 hectares (ha), Punjab had reported a loss of Rs 420 lakh and Karnataka had reported incurring a loss of flower crops spread over 11,685 ha, Tomar said.

Indian Ocean cyclones

There had been an unexpected increase in natural disasters like cyclones and floods during the last three years. Based on the statistics during 1891-2017, five cyclones develop over the North Indian Ocean on an average in a year, with four developing over the Bay of Bengal and one over the Arabian Sea.

However, in the recent past, an increase in frequency had been observed in the formation of cyclones in the North Indian Ocean. Also, studies showed an increase in the frequency of severe cyclones over the Arabian Sea in recent years, Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, told the Rajya Sabha.

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