Rs 50K for each Covid death from state disaster relief funds, SC told
New Delhi, September 22
In response to a Supreme Court directive, the Centre, in an affidavit, has recommended Rs 50,000 as ex-gratia compensation to the next-of-kin of those who died due to Covid-19, and the amount has to be distributed by states from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).
The National Disaster Management Authority, in its guidelines for ex-gratia assistance to the next-of-kin of Covid victims, said: "The authority recommends an amount of Rs 50,000 per deceased person including those involved in relief operations or associated in preparedness activities, subject to cause of death being certified as Covid-19".
On the source of funds, the guidelines said that "the ex-gratia assistance shall be provided by states from State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF)".
The top court is scheduled to take up the affidavit for hearing on Thursday.
According to the guidelines, the District Disaster Management Authority would disburse the amount on receiving a form issued by the state authority in this regard along with the death certificate. Also, a committee at district level would also be formed for redressal of grievances, and the panel would record clear reasons if it is not in favour of the claims.
"The DDMA will ensure that the process of claim, verification, sanction and the final disbursement of the ex-gratia payment would be through a robust yet a simple and people-friendly procedure. All claims would be settled within 30 days of submission of required documents, and disbursed through Aadhaar-linked direct benefit transfer procedure," said the guidelines.
It further added that the ex-gratia assistance to families affected by Covid-19 deaths will continue to be provided for deaths that may occur in the future phases of the pandemic as well, or until further notification.
In the compliance affidavit, the Union Home Ministry said both Centre and state governments have provided relief assistance to those affected by Covid. "State governments have also announced welfare measures from the state budgets. So, in effect, some financial and material assistance has already been provided to some of the most vulnerable sections," it added.
The top court, on June 30, had directed the Prime Minister-headed National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to frame appropriate guidelines within a period of six weeks for ex-gratia payment for the kin of those who died of Covid-19. The top court, on August 16, had granted four more weeks for the purpose.
The top court order came on PILs which were filed by advocates Gaurav Kumar Bansal and Reepak Kansal seeking court's intervention for payment of Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia amount to the Covid victims' families.