No Rs. 4L compensation for COVID-19 victims: Centre to SC
The central government has informed the Supreme Court that it does not plan on providing financial compensation of Rs. 4 lakh to each COVID-19 victim. In an affidavit submitted to the apex court, the Home Ministry said that the government has limited resources, and if the compensation if offered, the State Disaster Relief Fund will end up being consumed. Here are more details.
'Using up scarce resources may have unfortunate consequences'
"Utilisation of scarce resources for giving ex-gratia, may have unfortunate consequences of affecting the pandemic response and health expenditure in other aspects and hence cause more damage than good," the Home Ministry's affidavit stated, according to Bar and Bench. The affidavit said that an ex-gratia of Rs. 4 lakh is beyond the fiscal affordability of the state governments.
'Central, state government finances already strained'
The Centre's affidavit further stated, "Already the finances of State Governments and the Central Government are under severe strain, due to the reduction in tax revenues and increase in health expenses on account of the pandemic."
SC should keep away from executive policies: Centre reminds court
It is the "National Authority" which is empowered to recommend guidelines for the minimum standards of relief, including ex-gratia assistance, and thus it is a "function entrusted to the authority by the law passed by the Parliament." The Home Ministry also reminded the SC of its earlier judgment to not "substitute its own judgment for the decision to be taken by the executive."
Plea sought compensation for victims of COVID-19, post-COVID complications
The affidavit was filed in response to a plea seeking directions to central and state governments to provide ex-gratia compensation of Rs. 4 lakh to the kin of those who died due to COVID-19 or post-COVID complications. Referring to Section 12 of the Disaster Management Act 2005, the plea stated that the national authority should recommend guidelines for the minimum standards of relief.
Concerns on compensation 'genuine': Centre said this month
Earlier this month, the government had told the SC that issues of financial compensation to the families of those who died of COVID-19 were "genuine" and were being considered. Notably, last year, the government had decided to grant the financial compensation, however, the notification was reversed within hours. Further, most COVID-19 deaths are attributed to cardiac arrest, lung problems, or other comorbidities.