The Gujarat government has informed the Supreme Court that it has received 22,557 applications for payment of ex-gratia compensation to the families who lost a loved one to Covid-19 pandemic and sanctioned compensation in 16,175 cases. However, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare website records cumulative deaths in Gujarat as 10,098.
Gujarat’s Commissioner of Relief and Ex-officio Additional Secretary, Revenue, in an affidavit filed on December 9, said: “It is submitted that till date, 22,557 applications have been received for payment of ex-gratia compensation, out of which sanction order has been passed for 16,175 cases. It is further submitted that out of the 16, 175 cases which have been sanctioned, DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) has been done for 14,215 cases.”
The Gujarat government submitted that in accordance with the directions of the top court, the state is making all endeavours to ensure that publicity about the ex-gratia compensation scheme is done through radio, print, and electronic media as well as through official social media handles.
“The link to the online portal has been provided on multiple government websites of all district collectorates, as well as VCEs (Village Computer Entrepreneurs) of e-gram centres at the village level,” it added in the affidavit.
The government added: “The hon’ble court was further apprised vide the affidavit dated December 4, that 12,718 applications had been received, out of which sanction order has been passed for 7,145 cases, of which DBT was done for 6,515 cases.”
The state government submitted in the top court that it is bound by directions passed by the court and reiterates its commitment in its battle against Covid-19 to ensure that victims of the pandemic are paid compensation, at the earliest, in a simplified manner.
The top court is hearing a plea filed by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal in connection with compensation for Covid victim families. The Supreme Court in its October 4 judgment, had approved Rs 50,000, ex-gratia for the kin of Covid victims, which was recommended by the National Disaster Management Authority.
Previously, the top court had issued notice to several states over the abysmally low disbursal rate of Covid compensation. On November 29, the Supreme Court expressed concern at state governments grappling with various issues in connection with Rs 50,000 ex-gratia distribution to next of kin of Covid victims.
It had also directed the Chief Secretaries of various state governments to furnish full particulars to the Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Disaster Management Authority, and scheduled the matter for further hearing in December.