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Centre seeks time till September to frame guidelines for ex-gratia to kin of COVID-deceased

The Central government told the Supreme Court that ‘accelerated’ formulation of guidelines would lead to “undesirable results”.

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The Union government has knocked on the Supreme Court doors, asking it to allow the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) time till September, for the framing of uniform guidelines for payment of ex-gratia assistance to families of those who succumbed to COVID-19.

Earlier on June 30, the apex court had given NDMA six weeks to submit the guidelines.

The government said ‘accelerated’ formulation of guidelines would lead to “undesirable results”. The court said work on the recommendations was at an advanced stage.

The top court of the country had earlier flayed the NDMA, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for failing to perform its duty.

“The National Disaster Management Authority failed to perform its statutory duty… Ex gratia assistance on account of loss of life is part of minimum standards of relief which has to be provided to persons affected by disaster — in the present case COVID-19 pandemic,” the Supreme Court had observed in its 66-page judgement.

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The court, however, had left it on NDMA to fix the amount, while considering the recommendations in the 15th Finance Commission Report and funds required for other reliefs and priorities, including COVID-19 preparedness, mitigation, prevention and recovery.

The court had earlier refused a PIL seeking Rs four lakh compensation each to the families of those who died due to Novel Coronavirus.

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