Odisha may face the ire of the country's apex court over the low number of claims on the coming Friday (December 10), when the Supreme court will be hearing the matter of disbursal of the ex-gratia compensation to the family of COVID19 victims.
As per the information given by the Union Government in the court, Odisha has received claims from only around 14 percent of the registered deaths. While the registered deaths in the State stood at 8,401, the claims received stood at only 1,148.
The Apex Court during the hearing today expressed utter dissatisfaction over the low proportion of claims received by the states vis-a-vis the number of deaths. The Bench comprising of Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna while perusing the affidavits filed by states like Maharashtra, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat expressed its displeasure over lower claim applications.
Hearing on West Bengal Affidavit, the Bench said, "So far as WB is concerned, 19000 deaths but only 467 applications were received. This shows you do not publicise, then what will happen."
Moreover, as per the Centre's affidavit to the SC, the performance in disbursal of claims in Odisha is not very encouraging. Only around 10 percent have been given the compensation in the State.
Andhra Pradesh - The Top Performer?
As per the data provided to the Supreme Court by the Andhra Pradesh government, when the registered death toll in the State stood at 14,431, the number of claims received by the State government had been 28,468.
The Apex Court in its order had said, "So far as the State of Andhra Pradesh is concerned, the deaths recorded is 14,431 and the claim forms received are 28,468, which is double the deaths recorded. It may be because of our earlier order that a claimant can make an application for compensation in case the RT PCR report of the deceased was positive and he died within a period of 30 days, irrespective of the cause mentioned in the death certificate. The number of claimants may be likely to increase in other states as well."
On October 4, 2021, the country's Apex court had issued a slew of directions to the Centre over disbursal of the ex-gratia to kins of Covid-19 victims. The court had asked all the states, including Odisha, to file details as per the Court's directions which are given below.
- Whether the State has followed the procedure for inviting the applications and the format of the application for compensation
- What is the number of deaths recorded
- Number of claim forms received so far
- Number of claimants/persons to whom the amount of compensation has been paid/disbursed
- Any Grievance Redressal Committee set up in each district as per Court's earlier order
- Whether any wide publicity has been given with respect to the scheme for compensation and the application to be made to which authority and the full particulars of the office to whom the application is to be made so that compensation can be received.
- Any exclusive online portal launched for the purpose of inviting applications and for disbursal of amount of compensation
Odisha And SC Directions
The State has set up an online portal (https://caps.odisha.gov.in) on November 3 this year to receive online applications for compensation. The State also has a facility for offline application too.
It has also announced a timeline for clearing the claims and disbursal of the amount within 30-days. As per the Odisha govt guidelines, Covid-19 victims may apply their claims to the District Collectors and Municipal Commissioners. The State has appointed a nodal officer to deal with the ex-gratia matters, however, the status on the SC directions on the setting of grievance redressal committee seems quite hazy in the State.