Gujarat, Telangana, Maharashtra settle highest number of Covid-19 claims; UP, Bihar, WB lag behind
The number of Covid compensation claims for deaths due to Covid-19 exceeds the official number of deaths, according to data filed by states in the Supreme Court
The number of Covid compensation claims for deaths due to Covid-19 exceeds the official number of deaths, according to data filed by states in the Supreme Court. The compensation claims are almost nine and seven times higher in the states of Gujarat and Telangana.
According to the data submitted to the Supreme Court, Gujarat received 89,663 claims against the official death toll of 10,151 persons and the state has already disbursed 58,583 claims. In the case of Telangana, 4,054 deaths were reported, but there have been 28,969 claims for ex-gratia payment, of which 12,148 claims have been paid.
This is followed by Maharashtra where 1,41,779 deaths were announced, but the state has got 2,13,890 claims for ex-gratia payment. The state has paid 92,275 claims so far. In Tamil Nadu, there have been 57,147 claims for compensation against the official death toll of 36,967 and the state has already paid 41,131 claims. In the case of Uttar Pradesh, 22,953 deaths were officially announced, but the state has got 33,958 claims for compensation, of which 29,141 claims have already been paid.
In Kerala, though 50,674 deaths were officially recorded, there have been only 30,410 claims so far, of which payments have been made to 23,292 ex-gratia claims. In Bihar, there were 12,127 Covid-19 deaths announced, against which the state had received only 11,095 claims for ex-gratia payments. Bihar has settled only 9,821 claims so far. West Bengal has settled only 6,642 ex-gratia claims though the state has gotten 17,293 claims and 20,052 deaths were announced by the state.
During the hearing in December, Andhra Pradesh had informed the Supreme Court that there were 36,205 claims for ex-gratia payments, of which only 11,464 were paid. The state had officially announced only 14,509 Covid-19 deaths. In Delhi, there were 26,128 claims for ex-gratia payment, while the state had claimed only 25,335 deaths. The capital has settled 21,179 claims so far. Rajasthan had announced 8,999 Covid-19 cases and it has made ex-gratia payments for 8,577 cases. Karnataka has made only 7,277 payments when there have been 25,755 ex-gratia claims and the state has officially declared 38,418 deaths.
In June 2021, the Supreme Court had directed the National Disaster Management Authority to frame guidelines for granting compensation to the dependents of those who died due to COVID. The country’s apex disaster management body, which is headed by the Prime Minister, drew up the guidelines on September 11 in response to the Supreme Court’s direction given in June, 2021. However, disregarding the actual costs of Covid-19 hospitalisation, the union government announced Rs 50,000 as ex-gratia payment.
The court, based on a petition by social activist Gaurav Bansal, expanded the definition of Covid-19 deaths to include deaths that occurred within 30 days from being clinically diagnosed as a Covid-19 case would be treated as “deaths due to Covid-19”, even if the death occurred out of the hospital. The guidelines had also laid down the procedure to be followed if the next of kin of the deceased person was not satisfied with the medical certificate of cause of death (MCCD) issued by the authorities.
On January 19, 2022, the Supreme Court bench of Justices MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna asked the chief secretaries of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar government to explain why the disbursals of ex-gratia amount of Rs 50,000 for COVID-19 death were less in their states
In December, while examining the compliance of its October 4, 2021, judgment on Covid-19 compensation, the Supreme Court bench of Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna had questioned Kerala, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan governments over the slow rate of disbursal of the compensation to the next of kin.