New Delhi. The Centre govt informed Supreme Court that the families of those who die due to CoVID will receive Rs 50,000 ex gratia from the State Governments.
“The ex-gratia assistance to families affected by CoVID-19 deaths will continue to be provided for deaths that may occur in the future phases of the CoVID-19 pandemic as well or until further notification.”
The Centre has further informed the Top Court that the amount per deceased person will also include those who were involved in relief operations or associated in preparedness activities subject to cause of death being certified as CoVID-19. The redressal of grievances regarding certification will be governed by the guidelines issued by the MoHFW and ICMR on September 3, 2021.
The funds will be paid by the States from the State Disaster Response Fund (“SDRF”). It has also been stated in the affidavit that the DDMA/District Administration would disburse the ex-gratia assistance to the next of kin of the deceased persons.
“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. The DDMA will ensure that the process of claim, verification, sanction and the final disbursement of ex-gratia will be done through a robust yet simple and people-friendly procedure. All claims must be settled within 30 days of submissions of required documents and disbursed through Aadhaar Linked Direct Benefit Transfer procedures,” the affidavit further states.
NDMA in the Guidelines for Ex-Gratia Assistance to next kin of the deceased by CoVID-19 have also constituted a Committee at District Level consisting of-
Additional District Collector
Chief Medical Officer (CMOH)
Additional CMOH/ Principal or HOD Medicine of a Medical College (if one existing in district)
Which would provide necessary remedial measures of the grievances regards to certification of the death. The Committee would also issue amended Official Document for CoVID-19 death after verifying facts in accordance with these guidelines. Directions have also been issued to the Committee to record the reasons in case it takes any decision which is not in Claimant’s favour.
With regards to the Top Court’s direction to the Centre on taking appropriate steps on recommendations made by the Finance Commission in its XVth Finance Commission Report, the Ministry has informed that NDMA has already started discussions/consultations on the recommendation of the XVth Finance Commission regarding insurance interventions.
“Further studies are to be undertaken for laying the groundwork for these suggested insurance interventions. It is important that these insurance mechanisms are thoroughly studied, analysed and introduced with due diligence in partnership with insurance companies and hence it is a time taking process,”
affidavit further states in this regard.
On September 11, the Top Court while considering the fresh guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to simplify the process of issuance of death certificates, as per the directions in the judgment delivered on June 30 had asked the Centre to revisit its decision of not including death by suicide as CoVID-19 death even if CoVID-19 is an accompanying condition.
The division bench of Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna remarked there were some creases that were to be ironed out and asked the Centre to consider/ reconsider the following issues —
Implementation of the policy by states with regards to the guidelines issued by the Centre
Timeline for constitution of Committee for redressal of grievances regarding death certificates
Documents to be submitted by the family members before the Committee Documents that are to be provided by the concerned Hospitals
The Top Court had also asked the Union to apprise the Court about the compliance with respect to the guidelines that were to be issued by the NDMA for the determination of compensation.