With the spread of COVID-19, along with the central government, the state governments have also announced several policy decisions to contain and prevent the spread of the virus.   In this blog post, we summarise some of the key measures taken by the Uttarakhand Government in this regard as of April 16, 2020.

As of April 15, 2020, 2,413 samples have been sent for testing in Uttarakhand.  Of these, 37 have been found COVID-19 positive and the results of 354 samples are awaited.  Of the 37 confirmed cases, 9 patients have been cured/discharged.[1]

Movement Restrictions

To contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state, the Government of Uttarakhand took the following measures for restricting the movement of people in the state.

  • On March 20, the Department of Health restricted the entry of all tourists (domestic and foreign) into the state.[2]  The Department further issued orders for the closure of all educational institutions, gyms, swimming pools, museums, cultural and social centres, and theatres until March 31.[3]

  • On March 22, the state announced a complete lockdown till March 31.[4]  Restrictions during the lockdown included: (i) prohibiting the gathering of more than five people at any public place, (ii) suspending all public transport including taxis and auto-rickshaws, and (iii) closure of all shops, commercial establishments, offices and factories.  Establishments providing essential goods and services were excluded from the lockdown restrictions.  These include: police, medical and health, print and electronic media, food, groceries, and their transportation, among others.4 

  • On March 25, the central government announced on a 21-day country-wide lockdown till April 14.[5]  On April 14, the lockdown was further extended till May 3, 2020.[6]  

  • On April 15, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued guidelines on the measures to be taken by state governments until May 3.[7]  As per these guidelines, select activities will be permitted from April 20 onwards, to mitigate hardship to the public due.  These activities include health services, agriculture and related activities, certain financial sector activities, operation of Anganwadis, MNREGA works, and cargo movement, among others.  Further, subject to certain conditions, commercial and private establishments, industrial establishments, government offices, and construction activities will also be permitted.7 

Health Measures

Uttarakhand Epidemic Disease COVID-19 Regulations 2020

On March 15, 2020, the government notified the Uttarakhand Epidemic Disease COVID-19 Regulations, 2020 for the containment of COVID-19 in the state.[8]  Key features of the regulations include the following: 

  • All hospitals (government and private) must have dedicated flu corners for the screening of suspected COVID-19 cases.  

  • The spread of any misinformation must be avoided.  No person or organisation can use any print or electronic media for information regarding COVID-19 without prior permission of the state health department.

Guidelines for citizens, healthcare facilities and government departments

The state issued several guidelines and advisories on various subjects related to the containment of the virus.[9] These guidelines have been targeted towards citizens, healthcare facilities, as well as government departments. Some of these guidelines are given below: 

  • For citizens: These include guidelines on the use of masks by the public, guidelines for home quarantine, and advisory to not consume tobacco to prevent the virus.8   

  • For healthcare facilities: Guidelines for health care facilities include: sample collection, packaging and transport guidelines, infection prevention control for suspected cases, clinical management of COVID – 19, and discharge policy for COVID-19 patients, among others.8

  • For government: Guidelines for government departments include: guidelines for cluster containment, strategy, advisory on the use of hydroxychloroquine for high-risk population, and guidelines for quarantine facilities for COVID-19.8

Administrative Measures

On March 21, the state government cancelled all leaves for employees from the Department of Medical, Health and Family Welfare and ordered all the employees on leave to report back.[10]  Further, on March 19, the state government announced that the administrative control of all properties and accommodations under the tourism department and other government enterprises will be given to the respective District Magistrates, temporarily.[11]  


On March 21, the state government postponed the correction of all state board examination booklets, which were to be corrected from April 1 to April 15, 2020.[12]  The government also postponed exams for the Forest Research Institute, which were supposed to be conducted in March.[13]  

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


[1] Dehradun Health Bulletin on Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19), Status as on April 15, 2020 Time: 05:30 PM, Uttarakhand State Control Room COVID -19, Health and Family Welfare, Uttarakhand, http://health.uk.gov.in/files/Corrected-15-04-2020-Health-Bulletin.pdf.

[2] Order No. 48/PS-Secy(H)/2020, Department of Medical, Health and Family Welfare, March 20, 2020, https://prsindia.org/files/covid19/notifications/427.UK_Advisory_for_Tourists_20_Mar.pdf.

[3] Advisory on social distancing measure in view of spread of COVID-19 disease, Government of Uttarakhand, https://prsindia.org/files/covid19/notifications/1835.UK_Social_Distancing_Advisory_Uttarakhand.pdf.

[4] Order No. UKHFWS/PS-MDNHM/2019-20/217, Department of Medical, Health and Family Welfare and Medical Education, March 22, 2020, https://prsindia.org/files/covid19/notifications/432.UK_Order_Lockdown_Mar_22.pdf.

[5] Order No. 1-29/2020-PP, National Disaster Management Authority, March 24, 2020, https://mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/ndma%20order%20copy.pdf.

[6] “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, https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1614255.

[7] Order No.40-3/2020-DM-I(A), Ministry of Home Affairs, April 15, 2020, https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/MHA%20order%20dt%2015.04.2020%2C%20with%20Revised%20Consolidated%20Guidelines_compressed%20%283%29.pdf.

[8] Notification No. 370/XXVIII(1)/2020-01(06)/2020, Department of Medical Health and Medical Education, March 15, 2020, http://health.uk.gov.in/files/The_Uttarakhand__Epidemic__Disease__COVID-19_Regulation_2020.pdf.

[9] Website of Department of Medical, Health and Family Welfare, Corona (COVID19) updates, Government of Uttarakhand, last visited on March 16, http://health.uk.gov.in/pages/display/140-novel-corona-virus-guidelines-and-advisory-.

[10] Order No. 1P/Ra0pu0/miscellaneous/1/2018, Department of Medical, Health and Family Welfare, March 19, 2020, https://prsindia.org/files/covid19/notifications/430.UK_DG-Order-Cancellalation_of_Leave_Health_Workers_21_Mar.pdf.

[11] Order No. 42/Secy Health/2020, Department of Medical, Health and Family Welfare, March 19, 2020, https://prsindia.org/files/covid19/notifications/1826.UK_Advisory_for_KMVN_and_GMVN_Mar19.pdf

[12] Advisory No. 123/XXIV-B-5/2020/03(01)/2020, Secretary Uttarakhand Government, March 21, 2020, https://prsindia.org/files/covid19/notifications/429.UK_Advisory_for_Board_Student_of_Uttarakhand_21_Mar.pdf.

[13] Advisory No. 122/XXIV-B-5/2020/03(01)/2020, Secretary Uttarakhand Government, March 21, 2020, https://prsindia.org/files/covid19/notifications/1828.UK_Advisory_for_Board_Student_of_FRI_Uttarakhand_Mar21.pdf.

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.