Govt in LS: 7.9 lakh claims settled, ex gratia released to kin of Covid victims.

According to a reply to a question in the Lok Sabha on Friday, states have settled at least 7.9 lakh claims for ex-gratia relief of Rs 50,000 for the next of kin of those who died of COVID-19.

“As per information received from various State Governments/UT Administration, as of May 27, 2022, 7,91,353 claims have been settled/payment released as ex-gratia relief from State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to next of kin of the persons who died due to Covid-19,” the reply by Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Bharti Pravin Pawar said.

The pandemic is at least 2.5 lakh more than the official toll of the infection, which stood at 5.26 lakh on Friday. Albiet, in the matter of ex-gratia, the Supreme Court had held that those who died due to other complications while being COVID-19 positive would also be eligible to be treated as “death due to COVID-19”.

Even with the figures being higher than the official toll, the number was used by her to argue that the toll during the pandemic was not as inflated as 47 lakh claimed by the World Health Organisation report. Albeit, the WHO report considers all excess deaths whether due to the infection or due to impacts of control measures. “India had registered a strong objection to the process, methodology and outcome of this unscientific modelling approach, especially when India had provided authentic data published through Civil Registration System by Registrar General of India to WHO,” she said in her reply mentioning the problems with the WHO modelling.

7.9 lakh ex-gratia claims were also mentioned in reply to a question about Andhra Pradesh. The reply stated that 50,399 claims were filed in Andhra, of which 47,228 were accepted and paid. The reply stated that the delay in delivery was due to a mismatch of Aadhaar and bank details. 3,171 claims were rejected, with the most common reasons being non-submission of all relevant documents such as duplicate applications and death summaries. Andhra Pradesh was one of four states – the others being Maharashtra, Kerala and Gujarat – where the Center sent a team to investigate 5% of claims filed after some states were officially charged compensation compared to tolls.

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