New Delhi: The Central government on Wednesday apprised the Supreme Court that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has recommended an amount of Rs 50,000 as ex-gratia to be paid to families of those who died of COVID-19 including those who were involved in relief operations or associated in preparedness activities to the cause of death.
In an affidavit filed before the top court, the Centre said the NDMA proposed Rs 50,000 as ex-gratia amount to the kind of persons who died of COVID-19 and the amount has to be distributed by state governments from the State Disaster Response Fund.
In compliance with the directions of the Supreme Court, the Centre said, "The NDMA recommends an amount of Rs 50,000 per deceased person including those involved in relief operations or associated in preparedness activities, subject to the cause of death being certified as COVID-19."
The affidavit filed by Govind Mohan, working as Additional Secretary, in the Ministry of Home Affairs, said that with regards to such certification, and redressal of any grievances regarding the same, guidelines were issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on September 3, 2021.
"The Supreme court had directed the NDMA to recommend guidelines for ex-gratia assistance on account of loss of life, to the family members of the persons who died due to COVID-19, as mandated under Section 12(iii) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 for the minimum standards of relief to be provided to the persons affected by the disaster. In this regard, it is humbly submitted that, in respectful compliance with the directions of the Supreme Court, the NDMA has prepared guidelines for ex-gratia assistance to the next of kin of the deceased due to COVID-19, under Section 12(iii) of the DM Act."
On the distribution of the amount, the concerned families will submit their claims through a form issued by the State Authority along with specified documents including the death certificate that certifies the cause of death to be COVID-19, stated in the affidavit.
"All claims must be settled within 30 days of submission of required documents, and disbursed through Aadhaar linked Direct Benefit Transfer procedures," it added.
The affidavit was filed on a petition filed by lawyer-cum-petitioner, Gaurav Kumar Bansal, seeking an ex-gratia compensation for those family members, who died due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The apex court to hear the case tomorrow.
The top court had directed the Central government to issue simplified guidelines for the issuance of an official document relating to COVID-19 deaths to the family members of the deceased, who died due to coronavirus.
Bansal had moved the apex court seeking direction to the authorities concerned to provide an ex-gratia monetary compensation of Rs 4 lakhs (notified in the financial aid) to the family members of the deceased, succumbed to COVID-19, as per MHA letter in view of Section 12 of The Disaster Management Act, 2005.
The petitioner had sought immediate appropriate directions to the concerned authorities to pay financial help as laid down by the Central government in its statute and rules to the family members of the deceased, who succumbed to the COVID-19 pandemic.