As of April 13, 2020, there have been 260 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Karnataka.  Of these, 70 have been discharged and 10 have died.[1]  In order to contain the spread of the disease, both, the Central and State governments have come up with a series of policy responses.  In this blog, we take a look at the key measures taken by the Government of Karnataka in this regard as of April 14, 2020.

Movement restrictions

To contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state, the Government of Karnataka took the following measures to restrict the movement of people in the state:

  • On March 13, the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare ordered the closure of various establishments such as theatres, pubs, gyms, malls, swimming pools, and educational institutions until March 21.  The order also directed all international passenger arrivals to be mandatorily home quarantined for 14 days.[2]
  • On March 20, the above order was revised to extend the closure of said establishments until April 1.  The order also banned all religious gatherings.[3]
  • Further, on March 23, all bus services to and from the nine districts that had reported COVID-19 positive cases were completely stopped until April 1.[4]
  • The central government later announced a 21-day country-wide lockdown starting March 25.[5] This was followed by the announcement of a pass system by the Bengaluru Commissioner of Police on March 25 to regulate the movement of people in Bengaluru City.[6]
  • On April 6, District Collectors were empowered to issue inter-district transport passes.[7]
  • On April 14, the Prime Minister announced the extension of the lockdown till May 3, 2020.[8] On April 15, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued guidelines on the measures to be taken by governments until May 3. As per these guidelines, to mitigate hardship to the public, select activities will be permitted from April 20 onwards. These include health services, agriculture and related activities, financial sector, MNREGA works, cargo movement etc. In addition, subject to conditions, commercial and private establishments, industrial establishments, government offices, construction activities etc, will also be permitted.[9]

Essential Goods and Services

  • The pass system in Bengaluru City facilitated the movement of personnel involved in manufacturing and providing essential goods and services. 
  • On April 2, the government announced that it will distribute the excess stock of milk to poor people for free.[10]
  • On April 6, the government declared that rations for the month of April will be supplied to people without the usual OTP authentication process.[11]

Health Measures

Karnataka Epidemic Disease COVID-19 Regulations 2020

On March 11, 2020, the government released the Karnataka Epidemic Disease COVID-19 Regulations 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID19 in the state.  These regulations specify the protocol for hospitals to follow for screening and treating COVID-19 patients. These regulations are valid for one year.[12]

Preventive measures

On February 5, 2020, the Department of Health & Family Welfare and AYUSH services issued the Terms of Reference for district-level teams to take preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19.[13] The terms relate to various administrative and complementary aspects related to COVID19 management. These include activities of various teams, human resource management, training and awareness generation etc.

Following this, on April 6, 2020, the Department also issued instructions to all districts to prepare a District Level Crisis Management Plan to prevent large outbreaks of COVID-19.[14]

Setting up of fever clinics, isolation centres etc

On March 4, the state government issued guidelines to the district administration to ensure hospitals maintain a 10-bed isolation ward for COVID-19 patients.[15]  

On March 31, the government issued orders to establish fever clinics as the first points of contact for COVID-19 suspect patients.  These fever clinics would have COVID-19 Rapid Response team of one doctor, two nurses and a health care worker.[16]

Personnel measures

On March 30, the Department of Health & Family Welfare invited applications from doctors for immediate appointment (on contract basis) in Urban Primary Health Centres in Bengaluru City.[17]  Subsequently, on April 2, the state government issued orders to extend the tenure of retiring medical professionals from March 31, 2020 to June 30, 2020.[18]

On March 26, all Registered Medical Practitioners were permitted to provide telemedicine services during the lockdown period. Telemedicine services will be available for minor, non-COVID-19 ailments, and  existing patients only.[19]

For more information on the spread of COVID-19 and the central and state government response to the pandemic, please see here.

[1] Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) Media Bulletin, Karnataka, Department of Health and Family Welfare, last accessed on April 15, 2020,

[2] GOK order No. DD/SSU/COVID-19/17/19-20, Directorate of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Karnataka, March 13, 2020,

[3] Revised GOK order No. DD/SSU/COVID-19/17/19-20, Directorate of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Karnataka, March 20, 2020

[4] Order No. STA-6/SCP/PR-20/2019-20, Directorate of Transport, Government of Karnataka, March 23, 2020,

[5] Order No. 1-29/2020-PP, National Disaster Management Authority, March 24, 2020,

[6] Order No.02 / CP-BLR/Covid-19/2020, Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru City, March 25, 2020,

[7] Order of Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka, April 6, 2020,

[8] “PM addresses the nation for 4th time in 4 Weeks in India’s fight against COVID-19” Press Release, Prime Minister’s office, April 14, 2020,

[9] No.40-3/2020-DM-I(A), Ministry of Home Affairs, April 15, 2020,

[10] Proceedings,  Government of Karnataka, April 2, 2020, ,

[11] RD 158 TNR 2020, Government of Karnataka, April 6, 2020,

[12]Karnataka Epidemic Disease COVID-19 Regulations 2020, Government of Karnataka, March 11, 2020,

[13] No. JRO(1A)/148/2019-20, Department of Health & Family Welfare and AYUSH Services Government of Karnataka, February 5, 2020,  

[14]No. HFW 87 ACS 2020 Department of Health & Family Welfare and Medical Education, April 6, 2020,

[15]Circular No. HFW 47 CGM 2020 (P), Government of Karnataka, March 3, 2020,

[16]No. HFW 73 ACS 2020, Government of Karnataka, March 31, 2020,

[17]No. HFW 71 ACS 2020, Department of Health & Family Welfare and Medical Education, March 30, 2020,

[18] No. 40 HSH 2020 (B), Government of Karnataka, April 2, 2020,

[19]No. HFW 54 CGM 2020, Government of Karnataka, March 26, 2020,

The National Anti-Doping Bill, 2021 is listed for passage in Rajya Sabha today.  It was passed by Lok Sabha last week.  The Bill creates a regulatory framework for anti-doping rule violations in sports.  It was examined by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Sports, and some of their recommendations have been incorporated in the Bill passed by Lok Sabha.  

Doping is the consumption of certain prohibited substances by athletes to enhance performance.  Across the world, doping is regulated and monitored by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which is an independent international agency established in 1999.   WADA’s primary role is to develop, harmonise, and coordinate anti-doping regulations across all sports and countries.   It does so by ensuring proper implementation of the World Anti-Doping Code (WADA Code) and its standards.  In this blog post, we discuss the need of the framework proposed by the Bill, and give insights from the discussion on the Bill in Lok Sabha.  

Doping in India

Recently, two Indian athletes failed the doping test and are facing provisional suspension.   In the past also, Indian athletes have been found in violation of anti-doping rules.  In 2019, according to WADA, most of the doping rule violations were committed by athletes from Russia (19%), followed by Italy (18%), and India (17%).  Most of the doping rule violations were committed in bodybuilding (22%), followed by athletics (18%), cycling (14%), and weightlifting (13%).  In order to curb doping in sports, WADA requires all countries to have a framework regulating anti-doping activities managed by their respective National Anti-Doping Organisations.  

Currently, doping in India is regulated by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), which was established in 2009 as an autonomous body under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.  One issue with the existing framework is that the anti-doping rules are not backed by a legislation and are getting challenged in courts.  Further, NADA is imposing sanctions on athletes without a statutory backing.   Taking into account such instances, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Sports (2021) had recommended that the Department of Sports bring in an anti-doping legislation.   Other countries such as the USA, UK, Germany, and Japan have enacted legislations to regulate anti-doping activities.  

Framework proposed by the National Anti-Doping Bill, 2021

The Bill seeks to constitute NADA as a statutory body headed by a Director General appointed by the central government.  Functions of the Agency include planning, implementing and monitoring anti-doping activities, and investigating anti-doping rule violations.  A National Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel will be set up for determining consequences of anti-doping rule violations.  This panel will consist of legal experts, medical practitioners, and retired athletes.  Further, the Board will constitute an Appeal Panel to hear appeals against decisions of the Disciplinary Panel.  Athletes found in violation of anti-doping rules may be subject to: (i) disqualification of results including forfeiture of medals, points, and prizes, (ii) ineligibility to participate in a competition or event for a prescribed period, (iii) financial sanctions, and (iv) other consequences as may be prescribed.  Consequences for team sports will be specified by regulations.   

Initially, the Bill did not have provisions for protected athletes but after the Standing Committee’s recommendation, provisions for such athletes have been included in the Bill.  Protected persons will be specified by the central government.  As per the WADA Code, a protected person is someone: (i) below the age of 16, or (ii) below the age of 18 and has not participated in any international competition in an open category, or (iii) lacks legal capacity as per their country’s legal framework

Issues and discussion on the Bill in Lok Sabha

During the discussion on the Bill, members highlighted several issues.  We discuss these below-

Independence of NADA 

One of the issues highlighted was the independence of the Director General of NADA.  WADA requires National Doping Organisations to be independent in their functioning as they may experience external pressure from their governments and national sports bodies which could compromise their decisions.  First, under the Bill, the qualifications of the Director General are not specified and are left to be notified through Rules.  Second, the central government may remove the Director General from the office on grounds of misbehaviour or incapacity or “such other ground”.  Leaving these provisions to the discretion of the central government may affect the independence of NADA. 

Privacy of athletes

NADA will have the power to collect certain personal data of athletes such as: (a) sex or gender, (ii) medical history, and (iii) whereabout information of athletes (for out of competition testing and collection of samples).  MPs expressed concerns about maintaining the privacy of athletes.  The Union Sports Minister in his response, assured the House that all international privacy standards will be followed during collection and sharing of data.  Data will be shared with only relevant authorities.

Under the Bill, NADA will collect and use personal data of athletes in accordance with the International Standard for the Protection of Privacy and Personal Information.   It is one of the eight ‘mandatory’ standards of the World Anti-Doping Code.  One of the amendments moved by the Union Sports Minister removed the provision relating to compliance with the International Standard for the Protection of Privacy and Personal Information.

Establishing more testing laboratories across states

Currently India has one National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL).  MPs raised the demand to establish testing laboratories across states to increase testing capacity.  The Minister responded by saying that if required in the future, the government will establish more testing laboratories across states.  Further, in order to increase testing capacity, private labs may also be set up.   The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Sports (2022) also emphasised the need to open more dope testing laboratories, preferably one in each state, to cater to the need of the country and become a leader in the South East Asia region in the areas of anti-doping science and education.

In August, 2019 a six-month suspension was imposed on NDTL for not complying with International Standard for Laboratories (ISL) by WADA.  The suspension was extended for another six months in July, 2020 due to non-conformity with ISL.  The second suspension was to remain in effect until the Laboratory complies with ISL.  However, the suspension was extended for another six months in January, 2021 as COVID-19 impacted WADA’s ability to conduct an on-site assessment of the Laboratory.  In December, 2021 WADA reinstated the accreditation of NDTL.

Raising awareness 

Several athletes in India are not aware about the anti-doping rules and the prohibited substances.  Due to lack of awareness, they end up consuming prohibited substances through supplements.  MPs highlighted the need to conduct more awareness campaigns around anti-doping.  The Minister informed the House that in the past one year, NADA has conducted about 100 hybrid workshops relating to awareness on anti-doping.   The Bill will enable NADA to conduct more awareness campaigns and research in anti-doping.  Further, the central government is working with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to test dietary supplements consumed by athletes.  

While examining the Bill, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Sports (2022) recommended several measures to improve and strengthen the antidoping ecosystem in the country.  These measures include: (i) enforcing regulatory action towards labelling and use of ‘dope-free’ certified supplements, and (ii) mandating ‘dope-free’ certification by independent bodies for supplements consumed by athletes.