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SC sets up a 12-member National Task Force to facilitate public health response to pandemic

The bench said the Union Cabinet Secretary will be the convenor of the task force and may nominate an officer not below the rank of Additional Secretary to depute for him, when necessary.

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The Supreme Court on Saturday set up a 12-member National Task Force to facilitate a public health response to the pandemic based on scientific and specialised domain knowledge in view of a surge in COVID-19 cases in the second wave.

A Supreme Court bench, headed by Justices DY Chandrachud and M R Shah said that the rationale for constituting a task force at the national level is also to formulate a methodology for the scientific allocation of oxygen to states and union territories.

The bench said the Union Cabinet Secretary will be the convenor of the task force and may nominate an officer not below the rank of Additional Secretary to depute for him, when necessary.

The top court said in its order passed on May 6 uploaded on Saturday that the Secretary of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will be ex-officio member of the task force.

The bench said that other members of the task force will be 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; and Dr JV Peter, Director, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu.

Five other members of the task force include 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); and Dr Saumitra Rawat, Chairman & Head, Department of Surgical Gastroenterology and Liver Transplant, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi. The bench said that Dr Shiv Kumar Sarin, Senior Professor and Head of Department of Hepatology, Director, Institute of Liver and Biliary Science (ILBS), Delhi and Dr Zarir F Udwadia, Consultant Chest Physician, Hinduja Hospital, Breach Candy Hospital and Parsee General Hospital, Mumbai, are the members of the task force.

For carrying out the above audit exercise for NCTD, the audit sub-group shall consist of AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria who is Professor, Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Sleep and Dr Sandeep Budhiraja, Clinical Director & Director – Internal Medicine, Max Healthcare; and An IAS officer, each from the Union Government and GNCTD, not below the rank of Joint Secretary.

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