Gujarat eases rules for ex-gratia payment to kin of Covid victims

Wednesday 24th November 2021 05:50 EST

Two days after the Supreme Court took the state government to task over “trying to overreach its directions” on the disbursement of compensation to the kin of Covid-19, the government of Gujarat issued two notifications for ease of disbursing Rs 50,000 ex gratia for Covid deaths.

Significantly, the notification by health & family welfare department clearly stated that in cases where Covid-19 is established as cause of death either through death certificate or positive RT-PCR or other tests before 30 days of death would be termed death due to Covid. If there are any discrepancies, the Covid-19 Death Ascertaining Committee (CDAC) would approach the respective hospital to expedite the process to obtain required documents.

Another notification by revenue department stated that the Rs 50,000 compensation would be disbursed from the State Disaster Relief Fund.

As per the notification, district collectors are appointed as nodal officers for the process who are mandated to complete the process within 30 days of receipt of the application.

Last week, the SC bench of Justice M R Shah and Justice B V Nagarathna ordered the Gujarat government to simplify its procedure for disbursal of compensation among the Covid-affected families. The bench had sought response from the state authorities by November 22. The directive had asked the government ‘to take remedial steps and come out with a clear and simplified formula/notification so that the amount of compensation as ordered by this court is paid to the victim at the earliest and without any further harassment.’ The SC had frowned upon the state government's October 29 notification to form a Covid-19 death ascertaining committee (CDAC) at municipal corporation and district levels. The powers to ascertain whether a person died due to Covid-19 infection were given to the registrar of birth and death at respective units (municipal corporation/municipality/village panchayat). The committee’s certificate was a prerequisite to proceed further for the compensation even as the state government had not clarified the amount or modalities.

The SC had asked the state authorities to adhere to its directives on October 4 and had warned that any deviation would be viewed very seriously. The court was upset with the state government forming a scrutiny committee for issuing death certificates, which has made the affected families run from pillar to post. According to official figures, the state has so far recorded the death of 10,091 persons during the pandemic, whereas some quarters of public health experts believe that the number could be much more.

comments powered by Disqus

to the free, weekly Asian Voice email newsletter