Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal speaks in Delhi Legislative Assembly, in New Delhi on Friday. (ANI)
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal speaks in Delhi Legislative Assembly, in New Delhi on Friday. (ANI)

Doctors should be given Bharat Ratna: Kejriwal

The assembly on Friday, in the second and last day of the Monsoon session, unanimously passed a resolution that said the Delhi government will this year nominate only doctors and paramedic staff in the Capital for the Padma awards.
By Abhishek Dey, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 31, 2021 12:09 AM IST

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday in the Delhi assembly said that doctors across the country should collectively be awarded the Bharat Ratna — the highest civilian award in India — this year for their service to the people of the country during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The assembly on Friday, in the second and last day of the Monsoon session, unanimously passed a resolution that said the Delhi government will this year nominate only doctors and paramedic staff in the Capital for the Padma awards. To this effect, Kejriwal also said the Delhi government has so far received 2,100 nominations from the public, three days after it launched an e-mail address for residents to send their recommendations for the awards.

“It is our responsibility to deliver a message of respect to doctors, paramedics and health care workers for the service they have rendered during the Covid-19 pandemic. We arranged five-star hotels for doctors. I think, we were the first such government. In Delhi, we decided that all orders regarding Covid-19 management would be issued after due consultation with doctors and the medical fraternity. So, none of our orders faced any protest. We got full cooperation,” said Kejriwal in his speech at the assembly on Friday.

“Every year, the central government invites nominations from states for Padma awards. We have decided to recommend names of only doctors and paramedic staff… We have received 2,100 nominations from general public in three days of launching an email address for taking public opinion. Doctor can nominate themselves too. This house also recommends that doctors from across the country should collectively be awarded the Bharat Ratna as a community.”

On July 5, Kejriwal wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to consider awarding the Bharat Ratna collectively to the doctors’ community in India. On July 27, he announced that the Delhi government will nominate only doctors and health care workers this year for the country’s second, third and fourth highest civilian awards — Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan — to honour their contribution in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

Friday’s motion on Bharat Ratna and Padma Awards for the medical fraternity was proposed in the Assembly by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj. He said: “Delhi would not have survived its worst of peaks only because of doctors and health care workers… The risk that doctors have taken in Delhi is unimaginable.”

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, who is also the leader of the opposition in the assembly, said, “We support the proposal by Mr Bharadwaj. But we request CM Arvind Kejriwal to make the list more inclusive. Safai karamcharis (sanitation workers) were entrusted with disposal of waste from residences of Covid-19 patients in home isolation. And many such workers died of Covid-19. We request that we should think of the safai karmcharis too when we talk about doctors and paramedics. Similarly, there are lift operators, teachers, police officers who were deployed on Covid-19 duty. All of them should be included in the Padma awards.”

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