Centre lost all sense of balance, responsibility towards people: Congress on ex gratia for Covid victims

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Hitting out at the Union government for telling the Supreme Court that it cannot pay Rs 4 lakh ex gratia to COVID-19 victims, the Congress on Sunday alleged the Centre has lost all sense of balance and responsibility towards people. The Centre has told the apex court that a compensation of Rs 4 lakh cannot be paid to the families of those who have died of COVID-19 as it is beyond fiscal affordability and the finances of central and state governments are under severe strain.

In a tweet on Saturday, the Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “Power-drunk Modi government has lost all sense of balance and responsibility towards people. In an affidavit to the Supreme Court, the BJP government claims it doesn’t have money to pay even Rs 4 lakh as ex gratia compensation to families of Covid victims.”

“Does Modi Govt even feel the pain and suffering? No money for compensation to COVID-19 victim families but Rs 20,000 crore are being spent on Central Vista and a palace for prime minister. And where are the Rs 3,89,662 crore collected in the year 2020-21 from the loot in prices of petrol and diesel?” he asked in another tweet.

In an affidavit filed before the top court, the Ministry of Home Affairs said the Centre submitted that it has by ways of “Minimum Standard Relief”, under section 12 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, taken several steps providing for substantial and speedy measures by way of increase in health, infrastructure, ensuring food safety to every citizen.

On June 11 , the Centre had told the top court that issues raised in the pleas, seeking directions for ex gratia of Rs 4,00,000 to the families of those who have died of COVID-19, are “genuine” and are under consideration of the government.

On May 24, the top court had sought the Centre’s reply on two petitions seeking compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the families of those who have died of COVID-19 and had said that there should be a uniform policy for issuing death certificates to those succumbing to the virus.

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