NoK of every COVID-19 victim in J&K to get Rs 50,000

NoK of every COVID-19 victim in J&K to get Rs 50,000
Men offer funeral prayers over a COVID-19 victim in Srinagar. [File]Aman Farooq/GK

Jammu: The Next of Kin (NoK) of all those, who died of COVID 19 in J&K, will get Rs 50,000 as an ex-gratia assistance from the Union Territory (UT) administration, with immediate effect.

The assistance will be disbursed through Aadhaar linked Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) procedure. The Deputy Commissioners and Health and Medical Education (HME) Department, have been asked to ensure disbursal within two months.

The assistance will be made to the families of every deceased person including those involved in relief operation or associated in preparedness activities, subject to cause of death being certified as COVID-19.

J&K government on Tuesday, in this connection, accorded sanction to the adoption of a scheme for “granting claim to the Next of Kin of the deceased by COVID-19, under Section 12 (iii) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.”

The implementation of the scheme will commence immediately and will be applicable to “all deaths of residents belonging to UT of J&K that occur due to COVID-19.”

The eligibility of cases under the scheme will be verified through the database created by Health & Medical Education Department, Government of J&K and duly certified by the designated medical authority for the purpose in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) notified by the Health & Medical Education Department, Government of J&K.

A district level committee will be put in place to redress any grievance with regard to the certification of the COVID death.

The announcement, as per an order issued by the J&K Department of Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation & Reconstruction (DDMRRR) was in pursuance to the guidelines issued by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) vide its letter of September 11, 2021 in compliance to the Supreme Court order of June 30, 2021.

J&K State Executive Council (SEC) headed by the Chief Secretary had given its approval to the implementation of the decision in its meeting on October 18, 2021.

The grant of claim to the Next of Kin of the deceased by COVID-19 as ex-gratia assistance at the rate of Rs 50000 will be in terms of the items and norms of NDMA as per communication of September 25, 2021 of MHA (Disaster Management Division).

The eligibility of cases under the scheme will be verified through the database created by Health & Medical Education Department, Government of J&K and duly certified by the designated medical authority for the purpose in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) notified by the Health & Medical Education Department, Government of J&K.

In this connection, all Deputy Commissioners have been asked to put a “robust yet simple mechanism in place for DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) disbursement” of the ex-gratia assistance based on the specified process and procedure.

“All Deputy Commissioners will issue an appropriate order for the constitution of a District Level Committee (DLC) for redressal to any grievance(s) with regard to the certification of the COVID death. The committee shall consist of Additional Deputy Commissioner of the concerned district; Principal of Government Medical College or Chief Medical Officer of district; MS (Medical Superintendent) of District Hospital or Government Medical College,” read the order.

The terms and conditions of the District Level Grievance Committee will be to verify the authenticity of the COVID-19 death as per the MoHFW and ICMR guidelines. It will propose necessary remedial measures including amended certificate of COVID-19 death. Besides, it will detail appropriate administrative resources to verify facts in accordance with the guidelines issued for COVID-19 related deaths.

“Wide publicity shall be given to the scheme by the concerned Deputy Commissioners (chairman District Disaster Management Authority) or Health & Medical Education Department to ensure saturation of the scheme within a period of two months,” it was instructed.

Earlier NDMA, in its letter on September 11, 2021 addressed to the Chief Secretary or Administrator of States or UTs, had issued guidelines for ex-gratia to next of kin of the deceased by COVID-19 in pursuance of the Supreme Court judgment. The guidelines were issued along with the “Guidelines for Official Document for COVID-19 death” issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The Supreme Court, through its order dated June 30, 2021 in a Writ Petition (Civil) No 539 and Writ petition (Civil) 554 of 2021, had directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to recommend guidelines “for ex-gratia assistance on account of loss of life to the family members of the persons who died due to COVID-19, as mandated under Section 12(iii) of Disaster Management Act (DMA) 2005 for the minimum standards of relief to be provided to the persons affected by disaster.”

“After broad consultations and due deliberations with key stakeholders, NDMA is of the view that for ex-gratia assistance related to COVID-19, different norms need to be applied for the reasons that the COVID-19 is a disaster that has not abated. The total number of deaths continues to rise. There is uncertainty about new variants of the virus and likely future waves. Therefore, it is not possible to ascertain the total final financial burden emanating from ex-gratia assistance. Financial prudence demands that we plan in a manner that assistance can be provided to a larger number of people should the number of deaths rise,” NDMA had observed while deciding for assistance in the guidelines.

As per NDMA guidelines, the ex-gratia assistance to families affected by COVID 19 deaths will continue to be provided for deaths that may occur in the future phase of COVID-19 pandemic as well or until further notification.

Greater Kashmir
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