SRINAGAR: Following a Supreme Court judgement, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued orders for ex gratia relief of Rs 50,000 to the next of kin of those who died of COVID-19.
More than 4.4 lakh people have died of COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic last year.
In a letter sent to the States, the MHA said the amount would be disbursed from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).
The SDRF is the primary fund available with the State governments as part of their response to notified disasters to meet expenditure on providing immediate relief to victims. The Centre contributes 75% of the SDRF allocation for general category States and Union Territories and 90% for special category States (northeastern States, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir).
COVID-19 was notified as a disaster by the MHA on March 14, 2020.
The MHA said the ex gratia was applicable to the deceased, including those involved in relief operations or associated in preparedness activities “subject to the cause of death being certified as COVID-19” as per the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry and the Indian Council of Medical Research on September 3.
The ex gratia assistance would be applicable from the date of first case in the country and continue till de-notification of COVID-19 as a disaster or till further orders.