Ex-gratia approval exceeds Maharashtra's Covid toll by 32% – The Indian Express
Against the state government’s official Covid-19 death toll of 1.48 lakh, the number of applications approved for ex-gratia payment of Rs 50,000 for Covid-19 casualties has exceeded by 32 per cent.
Data available with The Indian Express showed that out of the 2,60,189 applications received for ex-gratia claims, the state has approved a total of 1,96,680, disbursing a whopping Rs 966.375 crore so far against the initial estimation of Rs 700 crore. The discrepancy between approved applications and the state’s official toll is because of the Supreme Court’s expansion of the denotation of Covid-19 death.
Last year, the Supreme Court expanded the ambit of Covid-19 deaths in response to a petition filed by advocate Gaurav Bansal for ex-gratia compensation. The court ruled that a death occurring within 30 days from getting tested or clinically determined as Covid-19 case shall be considered as a Covid-19 death, even if it happened outside a health facility. Along with this, in fact, the kin of victims of unnatural deaths, such as suicide, who tested positive for Covid-19 posthumously will also be eligible for the ex-gratia.
“At first, we were expected to provide ex-gratia to kin who had the death certificate with the mention of Covid-19 as the cause of death. But later, the denotation of confirmation of Covid-19 death changed under the directive of the Supreme Court. As per the new directives,the kin of victims of unnatural deaths who have tested positive for Covid-19 posthumously are also made eligible for the compensation,” said an officer from the State Relief and Rehabilitation department. “Taking these into account, the number of approved applications will be higher,” added the officer.
Due to incorrect applicant names and bank details, 4,060 applications are still pending. “Many of the applicants, especially from the rural and tribal parts of the state, have submitted documents with incorrect bank details. So, our officers are contacting them individually and making the corrections. In around 7,00 cases, payments have been done manually,” added the officer.
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A total of 55,897 appeals were made at the district-level grievance redressal cell (GRC)— a committee including additional district collector, chief medical officer of health, and the head of the department of machine of a medical college. Of these, 34,440 have been approved. “A total of 8,273 claims have been rejected by the GRC, mostly because of lack of documents or more than one application for the same person. In some cases, we have also found mala fide intentions,” said the officer.
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