States to provide Rs. 50,000 to each COVID-19 victim: Centre
The Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that state governments will provide financial compensation of Rs. 50,000 to the families of those who die of COVID-19. This compensation will be paid to future casualties along with the deaths that have already occurred. This comes after the SC had criticized the Centre for a delay in framing rules for the payment of compensation.
The Centre informed the Supreme Court that the said compensation will be provided from the State Disaster Response Funds (SDRF). It further said that the SDRF will channel their funds through the District Disaster Management Authority or the district administrations. To get the compensation, the Centre added that "the cause of death needs to be certified as COVID-19 in accordance with Health Ministry guidelines."
The Centre also said the compensation would be provided to kin of COVID-19 victims, including those involved in relief operations. "Compensation will be given to families of even those deceased who were involved in COVID-19 relief operations or associated in preparedness activities."
To claim the said compensation, the concerned families will have to submit a form issued by the state authorities along with specified documents, including those certifying the cause of death. The District Disaster Management authorities are entrusted to process the claim, verification, sanction, and disbursal. "All claims must be settled within 30 days of submission of the required documents," said the Centre.
Grievances will be handled by district-level committees, which will propose remedial measures after verifying all facts. The district-level committee will consist of Additional District Collector, Chief Medical Officer of Health, Additional CMOH or the Principal or Head of Department of Medicine at a Medical College, and a subject expert. The Centre said the compensation would be disbursed through Aadhaar-linked direct benefit transfer procedures.
Wednesday's submission by the Centre came after repeated rebuttals from the SC for the government's delay in framing rules for the payment of compensation. Earlier this month, the SC had given the Centre 10 days to submit compensation rules for COVID-19 victims. In June, the SC had given the National Disaster Management Authority six weeks to decide on the amount and frame the guidelines.
Notably, India recorded over 4.45 lakh COVID-19-related deaths since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Meanwhile, COVID-19 infections are declining in the country. India reported 26,964 fresh COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and the active caseload stands at 3.02 lakh, the lowest in 186 days. Currently, India's active cases account for 0.90% of total cases, the lowest since March 2020.