The families of those who die of Covid will receive ₹ 50,000 ex gratia from the state governments, the Centre informed the Supreme Court today. Significantly, compensation will be paid against not only for deaths that have already occurred but for future ones, too, the court was told.
The funds will be paid by state governments, sourced from their respective disaster response funds, and will be channelled through the District Disaster Management Authority or the district administrations, the government said in an affidavit filed before with the Supreme Court today.
India has recorded over 4.45 lakh Covid-related deaths since the pandemic broke out in January 2020.
“The ex gratia assistance…will continue to be provided for deaths that may occur in the future phases of the COVID-19 pandemic as well, or until further notification,” the affidavit said.
“Compensation will be given to families of even those deceased who were involved in Covid relief operations or associated in preparedness activities…The cause of death needs to be certified as COVID-19 in accordance with Health Ministry guidelines.”
The concerned families will submit their claims through a form issued by the state authorities along with specified documents, including those certifying the cause of death.
The district disaster management authorities will ensure that the process of claim, verification, sanction, and disbursal is simple, robust, and people-friendly.
“All claims must be settled within 30 days of submission of the required documents, and disbursed through the Aadhaar-linked direct benefit transfer procedures,” the Centre’s affidavit said.
Grievances, if any, will be handled by district-level committees consisting of Additional District Collector, Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH), Additional CMOH or the Principal or Head of Department of Medicine at a Medical College (if one existing the district), and a subject expert.
The committee will, after verifying facts, propose necessary remedial measures, including the issuance of amended official documents.
“In case the decision of the committee is not in favour of the claimant, a clear reason for the same shall be recorded,” the affidavit said.
In June the Supreme Court had ruled that families of those who died from Covid should get financial compensation, and gave the National Disaster Management Authority six weeks to decide on the amount and frame the required guidelines.
It had also said death certificates for those who died of COVID-19 must include date and cause of death, besides the mechanism to correct it if the family was not satisfied.