Manipur government urged to pay ex-gratia assistance of Rs 50,000 to next kin of COVID-19 victims

The Supreme Court on October 4 issued and order to start paying ex-gratia assistance to kin of those who died due to COVID-19.


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Former member of Manipur Alliance for Child Rights (MACR) Keisam Pradipkumar on Friday urged the chief secretary and chairman of State Executive Committee of the State Disaster Management Authority to implement the Supreme Court’s order issued on October 4 to start paying ex-gratia assistance of Rs 50,000 to the next kin of those of who had died of COVID-19.

With reference to the Supreme Court’s order, Pradipkumar has sent a letter mentioning that full particulars and address of the District Disaster Management Authority/District Administration of 16 districts of Manipur required for disbursement of the ex-gratia assistance is not published in the print and electronic media by the government of Manipur till date.  

He stated that the state government is required to constitute committees for each and every districts of Manipur consisting of additional district collector, chief medical officer of health, additional chief medical officer of health, principal or HOD Medicine of Medical College (if one existing in the district) and a subject expert in order to entertain any grievance with regard to certification of the death.

The said committees are to be formed and published in print and electronic media within one week from the date of order of October 4, 2021, he stated. However, no such committee has so far been formed in Manipur in clear violation of the directions issued by the Supreme Court, he added.

He stated that due to the non-publication of the particulars of the authority which is required to disburse the ex-gratia assistance of Rs 50,000 and the district level committee to consider grievances with regard to certification of the death, several next of kin of deceased Covid victims could not get the ex-gratia assistance.

He alleged that this is a serious lapse on the part of the state government and urged for immediate attention on the subject. He further pointed out that no prescribed application form for applying ex-gratia assistance is notified till date.

According to the order for ex-gratia assistance to the next of kin of the deceased by COVID-19 dated September 11 issued by the National Disaster Management Authority, a prescribed application form should be made available in a simple and people-friendly procedure by the Manipur State Disaster Management Authority. However, no such application form is prescribed till date without assigning any valid justification, he added.

According to the status update on COVID-19 of October 21 issued by the government of Manipur the cumulative COVID-19 death is 1,905 in Manipur. However, the next of kin of the deceased Covid victim could not get their ex-gratia assistance due to inaction on the part of the government of Manipur and by not complying with the directions issued by the Supreme Court of India, he maintained.

He urged the authorities concerned to comply with the direction issued by the Supreme Court of India thereby issuing necessary orders to make publication of the required full particulars and addresses of the authorities concerned. He further urged to prescribe a robust yet simple and people-friendly application form without further delay in the interest of the people of Manipur.

It may be mentioned that the Supreme Court of India in October 4 approved the Centre’s scheme of granting Rs 50,000 ex gratia compensation for all those who died due to COVID-19 in India.

The Supreme Court had delivered an order on a plea seeking implementation of the court order directing NDMA to frame guidelines for the payment of ex gratia compensation to the COVID-19 victims.

During the hearing on Monday, Justice MR Shah said that “the next kin of the deceased shall be paid an amount of Rs 50,000 and it will be over and above the amounts paid by Centre and state under various benevolent schemes.”

“No state shall deny the Rs 50,000 benefit on the ground that the cause of death in the death certificate is not COVID-19. The district authorities will take remedial steps to have the cause of death corrected. District level committee details to be published in the print media,” ruled the Supreme Court.

The court further said that the payment will be made from the state disaster relief funds. The compensation amount will have to be disbursed within 30 days of application and the cause of death being certified as COVID-19.

Justice MR Shah has also said, “The ex gratia assistance shall continue to be provided for deaths that continue to occur post the date of judgment.” The court has said that the grievance redressal committee can examine the medical records of the deceased patient and take a call within 30 days and order the compensation. The committee will have the power to call for records from the hospitals.

The Centre also informed the Supreme Court last month that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) had recommended that Rs 50,000 be given to the kin of those who died of COVID-19,

The government had said that ex gratia assistance will also be given to the kin of those who died of the virus due to involvement in COVID-19 relief operations or activities associated with the preparedness for dealing with the pandemic.

 
First Published:Oct. 23, 2021, 12:19 a.m.

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