The state government had said that it received 89,633 claim forms (applications) seeking compensation for COVID-19 deaths, out of which 58,840 claims have been settled and the amount has been disbursed to applicants

New Delhi:

The Gujarat government has told the Supreme Court that it had so far sanctioned the compensation of Rs 50,000 each to 68,370 claims filed by the kin of patients who died due to coronavirus infection in the state.

This information about processing such claims was given in the affidavit filed by the state government in the apex court on January 14, an official said on Tuesday.

As per the state health department, the death toll due to COVID-19 in Gujarat stood at 10,164 as of Monday (January 17). The state government had already clarified the discrepancy in the COVID-19 death toll, saying the number of fatalities went up after the apex court amended the definition of deaths due to coronavirus last year.

The Gujarat government has prepared a compliance report dated January 16, 2022, on the pleas (of various states) being heard by the Supreme Court on the payment of the ex-gratia assistance to family members of COVID-19 victims.

In that report, the state government had said that it received 89,633 claim forms (applications) seeking compensation for COVID-19 deaths, out of which 58,840 claims have been settled and the amount has been disbursed to applicants.

The state revenue department said that a total of 68,370 claims have been ”sanctioned” (58,840 settled) by the Gujarat government around that date. 4,234 claims were rejected while other claims are pending.

A senior official of the state revenue department, which had filed the affidavit in the apex court on January 14, confirmed the figures while talking to PTI on Tuesday and said that they continue to rise.

”This (receiving and settling of claims) is a continuous process. There is progress (in processing the claims) in the last two-three days (since the filing of the affidavit on January 14),” said P Swaroop, ex-officio secretary, Revenue Department.

On the discrepancy in the number of COVID-19 fatalities in Gujarat, state Revenue Minister Rajendra Trivedi had told reporters on December 15 that the toll had risen after the apex court made changes in the definition of COVID-19 deaths by including all those who died within 30 days of testing positive as cases of COVID-19 deaths.

In its order last October, the Supreme Court had said that no state should deny the ex-gratia compensation of Rs 50,000, as recommended by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), to the kin of persons who died of COVID-19 on the sole ground that the death certificate does not mention it as the cause of death.

The bench had said that the compensation should be disbursed from state disaster relief funds within 30 days of submitting the application and the cause of death is certified as of COVID-19.