Families of COVID Victims in India Will Get Payments

Supreme Court ruled monetary compensation mandatory under Disaster Management Act
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2021 3:30 PM CDT
India to Pay $674 to Families for Every COVID Death
A health worker inoculates a woman during a vaccination drive against COVID-19 in New Delhi, India Sept. 29. Families of people who died of COVID will be compensated, the Indian Supreme Court ruled Monday.   (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Families who suffered losses due to COVID will be compensated by the Indian government. India’s Disaster Management Act of 2005 requires monetary compensation for families of people who die in a disaster, and the government had declared the pandemic a disaster. Thus, victims are owed money, the country’s Supreme Court ruled. The ruling came after two lawyers, Gaurav Kumar Bansal and Reepak Kansal, asked for 400,000 rupees for each COVID victim, CBS News reports. The payout will be less—50,000 rupees, which is about $674, instead of the roughly $5,400 originally sought. The Indian government pushed back on the higher figure and the country's Supreme Court signed off on the plan on Monday.

More than 448,000 people died in India, most in the grueling second wave of the pandemic in May. Payments will go to the next of kin, and funds will go out even if the cause of death on the certificate is not specifically COVID. For example, families of people who died by suicide after receiving a diagnosis will get payments, CNN reports. Families should get their money within 30 days of applying. The money will be provided by various Indian states, and some governments, such as in Kerala and Rajasthan, have protested that they can’t afford it and need federal funds. But other states, like Karnataka, have already separately begun paying out more funds to families who need it most, the BBC reports. (More India stories.)

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