No other country managed to do what India did in terms of its response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Supreme Court said on Thursday, in rich praise for the government, as it reserved the order on a case involving the Rs 50,000 compensation proposed for COVID-19 deaths.
"Today we are very happy. There will be some solace to the persons who have suffered... Everything the government is performing. We're happy that something is being done to wipe out tears of the person who suffered," Justice MR Shah said.
Justices Shah and AS Bopanna also appreciated India's response to the coronavirus pandemic that drew intense scrutiny over thousands of deaths due to the lack of preparedness for the second wave and shortages of essentials like medical oxygen.
"Given the size of our population, vaccine expenses, economic situation and the adverse circumstances that we faced... we took exemplary steps... No other country managed to do what India did," the judges said.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has recommended that Rs 50,000 be given to the family of those who died of COVID-19, the centre had informed the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
It said that compensation will also be given to the family of those who died of the virus and were involved in COVID-19 relief operations or activities associated with the preparedness for dealing with the pandemic.
The government said that NDMA has issued the guidelines on September 11 following the directions of the top court given on June 30 wherein it had directed the authority to recommend guidelines for the financial assistance.
The assistance will not be limited to families affected by COVID-19 deaths in the first and second wave of the pandemic but will continue in future phases of the pandemic as well, the authority said.
The compensation will be provided by states from State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and all claims will be settled within 30 days of submission of required documents, and disbursed through Aadhaar linked Direct Benefit Transfer procedures, it added.
The centre's response came over a batch of pleas by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal and intervenors represented by advocate Sumeer Sodhi seeking compensation to family members of COVID-19 victims.