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On Covid Death Count Revision, Gujarat Says “Difference” In Calculation

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On Covid Death Count Revision, Gujarat Says 'Difference' In Calculation

Gujarat has received 34,678 applications and payments have been made in 19,964 cases.

Ahmedabad:

The Gujarat government on Tuesday said difference in criteria set by the Supreme Court for compensation to those who die due to COVID-19 and the health ministry’s definition of such deaths is the likely cause of difference between the number of recorded deaths due to pandemic in the state and people seeking compensation.

In an affidavit submitted in the Supreme Court last week, the Gujarat revenue department said it has passed sanction orders to pay compensation of Rs 50,000 each for a total 16,175 cases, even as the official number of COVID-19 deaths as per the health department stands at 10,099 in the state as of now.

When contacted for reaction on the discrepancy in the number of deaths due to COVID-19 in Gujarat, Additional Chief Secretary (health) Manoj Agarwal said, “As per the health department, the COVID-19 death statistics stand at 10,099. The affidavit was filed by the revenue department, so you should ask the additional chief secretary or other officials of the revenue department about the same.” Gujarat Revenue Minister Rajendra Trivedi, when asked for his comments, said he has no knowledge about the affidavit filed by his department in the Supreme Court, and he will be in a better position to speak after knowing the issue in detail.

Mr Trivedi, however, said the one possible explanation he can see for the discrepancy is the difference in the criteria set by the state committee for counting COVID-19 deaths and the order passed by the Supreme Court for providing compensation.

“The state committee here had decided not to count deaths due to heart attack or failure of other body organs to be due to COVID-19 and consider them as separate case,” the minister said.

“The Supreme Court, however, ordered that all deaths within 30 days of patients testing positive for COVID-19 should be considered eligible for Rs 50,000 compensation without considering anything else. This has likely caused the numbers to rise, is what I understand primarily,” Mr Trivedi said.

In the affidavit, relief commissioner and ex-officio additional secretary of Gujarat revenue department, Ardra Agarwal said, “Till date, 22,557 applications have been received for the payment of compensation, out of which sanction order has been passed for 16,175 cases. It is further submitted that out of the 16,175 cases which have been sanctioned, direct benefit transfer (DBT) has been done for 14,215 cases.” The official said the state government is committed to ensure the pandemic victims are paid compensation at the earliest in a simplified manner.

The Supreme Court has ordered payment of compensation to the family of those who have died due to the COVID-19 in the entire country.

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