Govt Says States To Give Ex Gratia for COVID-19 Deaths: Kerala, Rajasthan React

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The Union government on Wednesday, 22 September, told the Supreme Court that the kin of those Indian citizens who have succumbed to COVID-19 will receive Rs 50,000 ex gratia compensation from the state governments.

The compensation will be paid by the states from their respective State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and distributed by the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), the government clarified in the affidavit.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) also added that the amount "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 Indian Express reported.

Responding to the guidelines, at least two states have voiced against the Union government's submissions to the apex court.

Kerala

Reacting to the Centre's submissions on Wednesday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that it cannot say it has "no role to play in award of compensation to kin of those who died of COVID-19 and payment of ex-gratia cannot be left entirely to the States", news agency PTI reported.

Speaking to the media, Vijayan added that the amount payable by the Union government in this regard has to be seriously considered.

The Union government has to be ready to provide the necessary help, Vijayan said, PTI reported.

Rajasthan

Meanwhile, Congress state president and Minister of State for Education of Rajasthan, Govind Singh Dotasara, told The Indian Express, "You can’t impose (the ex-gratia payment) on states… tell them what to do or what not to do. It should be done by the Centre through their relief fund."

"You give funds for hailstorm, floods, etc., so you should now add Covid too. It’s not that only one state has been affected by it, it’s a pandemic. It should be covered under the National Disaster Relief Fund," he added.

(With inputs from PTI and The Indian Express.)

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