Picture via - Indian express
With the onset of the pandemic, our country has gone through a massive loss of everything from life to the economy. In this tough time, the center and the state authorities are going through a financial crunch with the halt of every economic activity. Recently, there were two petitions filed under PIL by Gaurav Bansal and Reepak Kansal concerning ex gratia compensation to the kins of individuals who have succumbed to the deadly pandemic under the Disaster Management Act.
In response to the petition filed in the apex court, the center has told the Supreme Court that experiencing a high toll of COVID-19 deaths, which is over 3.86 lakhs, it is not possible to provide ex gratia of 4 lakhs to kins of the deceased concerning a lot of issue relating to the state and the centre. Stating in an affidavit centre told that as public health comes under state list as the 7th schedule of the constitution and if the state pays ex gratia, it will impoverish with no funds under the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) to carry out other activities related to healthcare provision and other natural calamities. Regarding the plea, centre also added an approach which is followed by other government bodies across the world like health intervention, social protection and economic recovery which is much sensible strategy than this.
The finance of the state and central government are under severe strain due to the reduction in tax revenues and increase in health expenses on account of the pandemic.
Addressing a grave regret concerning the loss of humans in covid-19 to the nation and the difficulties faced by their family and friends, it said that it is important to appreciate the current approach followed by the government as the pandemic is not over yet and the uncertain trajectory followed by the virus to mutate is another concern. The state and the centre need to be prepared with whatever it may require in the terms of financial and technical resources to combat the virus. This process may require the allocation of huge financial help, which is an immense burden for a nation. Being the onus of the government to seek the welfare of its citizens, citizens should also understand the stance of the government during this crisis.
That's why, due to its scale and impact, it would not be appropriate to apply the scheme of assistance, eligible for natural disasters, to the epidemic.