Congress Demands Rs 5 Lakh Aid For Every Covid Death, Fresh Survey

Congress alleged that the Centre has been dragging its feet on compensation from day one and said the party leadership has stated that there needs to be proper and adequate compensation for Covid deaths.

Congress Demands Rs 5 Lakh Aid For Every Covid Death, Fresh Survey

Families will be paid Rs 50,000 in case of Covid deaths, Centre told Supreme Court (File)

New Delhi:

The Congress on Thursday demanded a financial aid of Rs 5 lakh for every coronavirus victim after a fresh survey and said the amount of Rs 50,000 promised by the Centre is a "cruel joke" as the crisis in the country is clearly "man-made".

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate alleged that the Centre has been dragging its feet on compensation from day one and said her party leadership has stated that there needs to be proper and adequate compensation for coronavirus deaths.

"We demand a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for every life lost during Covid because coronavirus in India is a man-made crisis," she told reporters.

"The doublespeak and hypocrisy of the Modi government are out for everyone to see," Ms Shrinate said, asserting that the Centre cannot get away with this "cruel joke" of Rs 50,000.

"The shameful attempts to mask deaths have to be stopped immediately. There should be a fresh survey of deaths in every state, adequate compensation should be given and fresh claims should be accepted," she demanded.

The Centre has told the Supreme Court that the compensation on account of coronavirus deaths is going to be only Rs 50,000.

"How are they calculating that, on what basis? Rs 50,000, is beyond our mortal imagination. We can not comprehend that. But the reality is that this government has been dragging its feet on compensation from day one," Ms Shrinate said.

She alleged that instead of providing oxygen cylinders, beds, vaccines and medicines, the government was too busy electioneering when the virus was spreading during the second wave of the pandemic and people were dying due to a lack of these essentials.

The Congress leader recalled that the Centre had told the Supreme Court that under the National Disaster Management Act Rules, 2005, the coronavirus is not a disaster, which was rejected by the court.

The government kept taking adjournments and dragging its feet, and eventually, on September 22, it said through the SDRF, a compensation of Rs 50,000 will be released to every family, every life that has been lost due to the coronavirus, she said.

Supriya Shrinate said the law clearly states that every life lost during a disaster will be compensated for by Rs 4 lakh.

"Why is the government going back on the written law, on the written words? It is absolutely true that at a time when the government should have prioritised corona management, it failed to do so, it was too busy in electioneering and which is why, we saw the worst impact of coronavirus," she alleged.

The Congress leader said people lost jobs due to the coronavirus crisis and were forced to withdraw almost Rs 60,000 crore from the EPF.

She also alleged that the Centre has collected nearly Rs 4.54 lakh crore from taxes on petrol and diesel in the last one year and wondered why it cannot give only 4.8 per cent from the excise duty collected on fuel.

"It is also a good day to ask, where is the PM-Cares fund? What is happening with that? Where is that money being put to use? Why is such a shroud of secrecy around there? Why is nobody talking about the PM Cares fund in the government?" Ms Shrinate asked.

She said it is not a private fund of the ruling BJP as it has the money that the common people have contributed in the name of the Prime Minister of India. "Why is this money not being put to use?" the Congress leader asked.