Consider Finance Commission recommendation on Covid relief: SC
The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Centre to take appropriate steps on the recommendations made by the Finance Commission in its 15th report regarding social security and welfare measures in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and M.R. Shah said: "We hope and trust that the Union Government will consider the recommendations made by the Finance Commission made in its XVth Finance Commission Report and take an appropriate decision in consultation with other stakeholders and the experts."
The Centre submitted that the allocation of funds to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Funds (SDRF) are made on the basis of various recommendations made by the successive Finance Commissions.
"The XV-Finance Commission in para 8.11 of Chapter 8 of its report for the period 2021-22 to 2025-26, while making allocation under NDRF and SDRF inter alia, has chosen, to deal with the issue of financing of Covid-19 pandemic," the petitioners had submitted.
The bench noted that the commission has also suggested the Centre launch a national insurance scheme for disaster related deaths in India which will not only be able to work as a social protection scheme but will also not increase the administrative burden on the government.
The petitioners submitted that the Commission has proposed four insurance interventions which need to be studied further by the National Disaster Management Authority and relevant ministries for their feasibility. These interventions are: National Insurance Scheme for Disaster-related Deaths; Synchronising Relief Assistance with Crop Insurance; Risk Pool for Infrastructure Protection and Recovery; and Access to International Reinsurance for Outlier Hazard Events.
Concluding its judgment, the bench said: "The Union of India to take appropriate steps on the recommendations made by the Finance Commission in its XVth Finance Commission Report bearing in mind paragraph 8.131 in consultation with other stakeholders and experts".
The bench also directed appropriate authority to issue simplified guidelines for issuance of death certificates/official document stating the exact cause of death, "death due to Covid-19", to the family members of the deceased.
"Such guidelines may also provide the remedy to the family members of the deceased who died due to Covid-19 for correction of the death certificate/official document issued by the appropriate authority, if they are not satisfied with the cause of death mentioned in the death certificate/official document issued by the appropriate authority," it said.
The top court order came on PILs which were filed by advocates Gaurav Kumar Bansal and Reepak Kansal seeking the court's intervention for payment of Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia amount to Covid victims' families.-IANS
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