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Supreme Court pulls NDMA to frame ex-gratia norms for COVID victim families

Supreme Court pulls NDMA to frame ex-gratia norms for COVID victim families

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court of India has pulled up the Prime Minister-led National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to frame norms for ex-gratia to be paid to the families who have lost members due to COVID-19.

The apex court, stating that NDMA failed to perform its mandatory statutory duty even though Covid-19 was declared a disaster under the Disaster Management Act a year ago, has given them a period of six months to frame the norms.

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The bench has left it to the NDMA to decide the ex-gratia amount that needs to be paid to almost 4 lakh families from the NDRF, SDRF over and above the ex-gratia paid by states from other sources, including chief minister's relief fund.

The apex court has also ordered steps to simplify guidelines for issuance and correction of death certificates and official documents stating 'death due to Covid-19', as many relatives have complained that the certificates mostly mention other reasons than the COVID-19.

A bench of justices Ashok Bhushan and M R Shah noted that they cannot fix the ex-gratia amount as there was a need to focus simultaneously on prevention, preparedness, mitigation and recovery which calls for a different order of mobilization of both financial and technical resources.

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