The Central Government has informed the Supreme Court that it has proposed compensation of ₹ 50,000 to the people who died due to COVID-19.
The affidavit filed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs states that ex-gratia assistance will be paid by the respective states’ State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).
As recommended by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), persons who will be eligible for the ₹ 50,000 compensation will include those who have lost their lives in relief work and preparedness activities, provided that the cause of death is certified as a COVID-19 death.
The NDMA has stated that the District Disaster Management Authority will transfer funds to the relatives of the deceased. It further stated that in the event of a complaint regarding death certification of a COVID-19 death, a district level committee will propose remedial measures that include the issuance of amended death certificates.
The ex-gratia assistance for families affected by COVID-19 deaths will continue to be provided for possible deaths in the future stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, as recommended by NDMA. All claims must be resolved within 30 days of the submission of the required documents and will be disbursed through Aadhaar-linked direct benefit transfer procedures.
On June 30, the Supreme Court gave the NDMA six weeks to form these guidelines. The Court left it to the discretion of the NDMA to decide on the amount to be awarded as ex gratia aid.
Pertinently, the Court held that the authority under Section 12 of the Disaster Management Act to set guidelines for minimum standards of relief, including the payment of ex gratia assistance, is mandatory and not discretionary. By failing to do so, the NDMA has failed to perform its duties under Section 12 of the Act, the Court said.