India pledges to pay $674 in compensation for every COVID-19 death

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The Indian government has pledged to pay $674 in compensation for every death caused by the COVID-19 virus, the BBC reports.

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India’s supreme court has approved the government’s decision following a petition by lawyers seeking compensation under the country’s disaster management laws.

The south Asian nation has officially recorded more than 447,000 deaths from COVID-19 so far, although experts predict that more than ten times more people could have died.

On Monday Justice MR Shah said the “next of kith and kin of the deceased person” will be paid the compensation. The court added that it should be paid within 30 days of a family submitting an application.

Petitioners sought legal intervention in June for paying compensation to families of COVID-19 victims, citing India’s National Disaster Management Act of 2005.

The law states that compensation of $5,367 (400,000INR) should go to families of people who died in disasters.

“We know the government has spent a lot of money in managing the pandemic. But we still think the government should have paid 400,000 rupees compensation to every affected family according to the law.

“Or they could have given a higher amount to the poor families and less to the well-to do. They could have bettered it,” Gaurav Kumar Bansal, one of the petitioners, told the BBC.

The funds for the compensation will come from the states, according to the federal government.

At least two states - Kerala and Rajasthan - have said the compensation would pressure their budgets, arguing that the funds should be provided by the federal government.

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