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Home Ministry does a U-turn on COVID-19 compensation clause

Maitri Porecha New Delhi | Updated on March 14, 2020

In the light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Ministry of Home Affairs has said earlier that it will pay a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to families of deceased infected COVID-19. Within hours, it issued a revised circular and deleted the compensation clause. 

India has confirmed 84 cases of which, over the past two days, there have been two deaths, that of a 76-year old man in Karnataka and a 69-year old woman in Delhi. 

On Saturday, the family of 69-year-old deceased woman had alleged that crematoriums were refusing to let the family perform last rites in the premises. After the intervention of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the family was able to cremate the deceased at Nigambodh Ghat crematorium at Kashmere Gate in North Delhi.

The centre had also earlier said that the cost of hospitalization for managing a COVID-19 case will have to be carried out at rates fixed by the state government (in case a patient gets admitted to a private hospital). In the revised circular, this clause was deleted as well. 

The central government keeping in view the spread of COVID-19 virus in India and the declaration of COVID-19 as pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) by way of a special one time dispensation has decided to treat it as a notified disaster for the purpose of providing assistance under State Disaster Response Fund.

In the revised circular, MHA has directed the chief ministers of all states to ensure effective containment of the outbreak for a period of up to 30 days, as per assessment of need by State Executive Committee (SEC).

On provision of temporary accommodation, food, clothing, medical care for people affected and sheltered in quarantine camps (other than home quarantine), cost of consumables for sample collection and support for checking, screening and contact tracing the MHA circular says, “The SEC will decide the number of quarantine camps, their duration, and the number of persons in such camps. “This period can be extended by the SEC beyond the prescribed limit subject to condition that expenditure on this account should not exceed 25 per cent of the State Disaster Response Fund for the year.”

On procurement of essential equipments, laboratories for response to COVID-19, which includes cost of setting up additional testing laboratories, within the government and the cost of consumables, cost of personal protective equipment for healthcare, municipal, police and fire authorities, as well as cost of thermal scanners, ventilators, air purifiers, and consumables for government hospitals, MHA has stated that total expenditure on equipment should not exceed ten per cent of the annual allocation of SDRF.

Any amount spent by the state for COVID-19 over and above the ceiling would be borne out of the resources of the state and not by central government, MHA has clarified.

 

Published on March 14, 2020

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