Centre tells SC it has recommended ex-gratia payment of Rs 50,000 to COVID deceased; to be paid by states
On June 30, SC had given National Disaster Management Authority six weeks to form such guidelines, asking it to decide on the amount to be provided as ex gratia assistance
The Central government has informed the Supreme Court that it has recommended compensation of Rs 50,000 for every person who succumbed to COVID-19.
The affidavit filed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs clarifies that the ex-gratia assistance shall be paid by the states from the respective State Disaster Response Funds (SDRF), Bar & Bench has reported.
The persons eligible for this compensation amount of Rs 50,000 recommended by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will include those who lost their lives in relief operations and preparedness activities, subject to the cause of death being certified as COVID-19, it said.
NDMA has stated that the District Disaster Management Authority shall disburse the funds to the next of the kin of deceased. It further stated that in case of grievance regarding certification of death as a COVID-19 death, a committee at the district level would propose remedial measures including issuance of amended death certificates.
The ex-gratia assistance to families affected by COVID-19 deaths will continue to be provided for deaths that may occur in future phases of the COVID-19 pandemic as well, the NDMA recommended. All claims are to be settled within 30 days of submission of required documents and will disbursed through Aadhaar-linked direct benefit transfer procedures.
On June 30, the apex court had given the NDMA six weeks to form such guidelines. The Court left it to the wisdom of the NDMA to decide on the amount to be provided as ex gratia assistance.
"We direct NDMA to form guidelines for ex gratia compensation for family members of persons who succumbed to covid as per minimum standards of relief. The reasonable amount to be provided is left to wisdom of national authority," the judgment stated.
Pertinently, the court held that the mandate under Section 12 of the Disaster Management Act to lay down guidelines for minimum standards of relief including payment of ex gratia assistance, is mandatory and not discretionary. In failing to do so, the NDMA failed to perform its job under Section 12 of the Act, the Court said.