COVID-19 deaths: Centre's Rs 50K compensation offer to drain Kerala's Disaster Relief Fund

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Government will have to spend the whole amount lying at the disposal of the State Disaster Relief Fund when the Central Government's decision granting Rs 50,000 to the dependents of those who died due to COVID-19 is implemented.

In all 24,318 persons died due to COVID-19 in the state as per the official statistics until Friday, September 24. For giving them the said compensation, Rs 121.5 crore out of the remaining Rs 160 crore in the fund will have to be utilised.

If the names of those who were left out earlier from the list of dead are included as beneficiaries, a larger amount will have to be again found out for distribution.

The State Disaster Relief Fund is made up of 75 per cent contribution from the Central Government and 25 per cent from the State Government. At the beginning of this year the fund had Rs 430 crore; but after a substantial amount was used for helping those who had suffered from various natural calamities, the amount in the account got reduced to Rs 160 crore.

Current status

The Central Government had only informed the Supreme Court of India about the decision to grant compensation. As no formal order has been issued the State Government is yet to distribute the compensation to the eligible.

Total likely claimants

The official death toll may go up if more than 10,000 likely COVID-19 deaths are included later. Earlier, the information given by the Information Kerala Mission revealed that 7,316 COVID-19 fatalities were left out from the list. According to experts, more than 10,000 persons may find a place in the list of the COVID-19 dead, necessitating the government to find more money for giving them compensation.

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