A Delhi homeguard conducts a thermal screening of passengers at a bus stop during the Covid-19 lockdown
A Delhi homeguard conducts a thermal screening of passengers at a bus stop during the Covid-19 lockdown (representational image) | Photo: Manvendra Vashist | PTI
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New Delhi: A group of ministers (GoM) led by Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawarchand Gehlot has recommended the creation of a “department of hygiene” in the wake of the Covid pandemic, ThePrint has learnt.

According to a senior government official, who didn’t want to be named, the GoM has recommended that the department of hygiene should be established in all organisations, workplaces, municipal corporations, etc.

“Health sector may be given special focus in view of renewed emphasis in the Covid times, and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare can come out with certain guidelines and codes regarding hygiene practices,” read the recommendation report, accessed by ThePrint, which has been sent to the PMO for approval earlier this month.

Another senior government official told ThePrint it could be an extension of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in which initially the focus was on creating infrastructure such as toilets, but now it could be used to cover personal and social hygiene too.

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Can provide employment too

The GoM further pointed out the creation of a department of hygiene can also provide huge employment opportunities by “establishing an entire infrastructure right till the villages to ensure hygiene maintenance mainly in the backdrop of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”.  

“The workers who have lost jobs in the post-Covid times can be retrained and can be engaged as hygiene workers across the country,” according to the recommendation report. 

The second official mentioned above told ThePrint a certification system for hygiene levels will be introduced on the lines of ISO certification, and all enterprises will be mandated to get this certification over a three-year period.  

The GoM further stated several sectors have been badly hit because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the lockdown has disrupted supply chains and production.

“Lockdown has changed the entire dynamic of job creation and economic revival. As the nation is gradually opening all the sectors, the effects of lockdown will become apparent in the coming weeks,” it said.

The report stated sectors that have greater job potential during the post-Covid period such as healthcare, food-processing and agri-business chains, insurance, e-commerce, retail delivery, pharmaceuticals, among others, should be incentivised.

Also read: Ministers’ panel wants to use MGNREGA funds for labour wages in private factories


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