Family members of deceased Covid-19 patients have filed several requests for ex-gratia of Rs 50,000. Out of 1.35 lakh requests for ex-gratia received in the past 12 days, nearly a third are duplicates because more than one patient’s family member has claimed compensation.
Following the adoption of restrictions by the Supreme Court, the Maharashtra government began paying ex-gratia to relatives of patients who died from Covid-19 on December 9. As of Monday evening, nearly 10,000 families have received ex-gratia on 1.35 lakh requests.
As of December 20, 1.42 lakh people have died from Covid-19 in Maharashtra, the highest in India.
An official with the state’s relief and rehabilitation department told The Indian Express that in nearly 50,000 of the total claims, more than one family member sought compensation.
“We observe that over 70% of the total requests are legitimate, but the rest are duplicates. Thus, more than 50,000 family members of Covid patients have not yet submitted an ex gratia request, ”said the officer.
In one case, the parents and wife of a 31-year-old homeopathic doctor from Mumbai who died of Covid filed separate compensation claims. “He was only married for a year, so legally we should get the amount for our survival as he was the sole breadwinner in the family,” the father said.
As there is no clarification of the definition of “next of kin” in the Centre’s guidelines, the amount will be provided in chronological order according to the requests received. “If a parent files a complaint, legal action will be taken against the beneficiary. Thus, all applicants were invited to submit certificates of no objection from family members, ”the officer said.
The duplication of applications has put additional pressure on supervisors, who must again crosscheck all applications.
“Fearing that the first request was registered, many families resubmitted it. It also causes duplication, ”said Dr Nikam, Amravati civil surgeon.
The state expects demands to increase further this week. “We have already contacted more than 50,000 families of deceased Covid patients through the contact details of the Co-WIN application. For those who have already applied, we have taken their application number for review. Almost 20,000 requests are in the process of being approved, ”said Aseem Gupta, principal secretary of the relief and rehabilitation department.
The department also expects the claims to exceed the state’s total number of deaths. “There are several Covid-19 patients who have died at home and do not have a new coronavirus mentioned on their death certificates. So, counting these unregistered patients, there will be 10,000 to 20,000 additional claims, ”said the officer.