COVID-19: Centre withdraws order on ex-gratia within hours of notification

Relief to families of victims and cost of hospitalisation removed in new order.

March 14, 2020 09:49 pm | Updated 09:50 pm IST - New Delhi

A family covering their mouths due to the outbreak of coronavirus, travelling in a metro, in New Delhi. File

A family covering their mouths due to the outbreak of coronavirus, travelling in a metro, in New Delhi. File

Hours after it issued a notification that an ex-gratia of ₹4 lakh will be paid to the families of those who die of COVID-19 infection , the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) withdrew the order.

In an order issued on Saturday, the MHA said it has decided to treat COVID-19 as a “notified disaster” for the purpose of providing assistance under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).

COVID-19 | Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India

The SDRF is the primary fund available with the State governments for responses to notified disasters to meet expenditure for providing immediate relief to the victims. The Centre contributes 75% of the SDRF allocation for general category States and Union Territories and 90% for special category States (northeast, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir).

Under the old notification, the MHA listed ex-gratia relief to families of deceased persons and “cost of hospitalisation for managing COVID-19 patients at rates fixed by the State government” among the items for assistance from the SDRF pool.

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It issued another “partially modified” notification the same day where the above two items were removed.

It said the items that would be included for assistance under the SDRF are measures for quarantine, sample collection, screening and procurement of essential equipment/laboratories in response to COVID-19.

No explanation was given by the MHA officials for the modified notification.

An MHA spokesperson did not respond to a specific query on the reasons that led to the modification of the notification.

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