The Congress on Thursday demanded the establishment of a COVID-19 compensation fund with a promise to pay Rs 4 lakh each to the families that have lost at least a member to the pandemic.
Addressing reporters here, Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh questioned the Centre for dithering on compensating the families traumatised by the virus.
He said a commission to ascertain the actual number of deaths due to COVID-19 in the country should also be set up soon.
"The National Disaster Management Act provides for a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to any person who dies due to a disaster in the country. The government, to begin with, did not even acknowledge that Covid is a disaster. Later, when the Supreme Court rapped it for failing to help the families of the victims, the government said it had no money," the Congress leader said.
He hit out at the Centre for agreeing to pay Rs 50,000 instead of Rs 4 lakh to the families of Covid victims.
Vallabh said the families spent Rs 5 to 7 lakh on an average and yet could not save their loved ones from the deadly virus.
"All this happened in a year during which the earnings of 97 per cent Indians fell and the income of only a select three per cent rose. All this happened in a year when the unemployment rate in the country was seven per cent and the joblessness rate in 10 states was over 10 per cent," he added.
The remarks of the Congress spokesperson came a day after the party launched its "Covid justice campaign", with its former chief Rahul Gandhi sharing a video of the affected families on Twitter and demanding a compensation of Rs 4 lakh for every household that has lost at least a member to the viral disease.
Vallabh, who was accompanied by Delhi Congress leader Alka Lamba, said the party has launched two websites to ensure a compensation of Rs 4 lakh for each victim of the coronavirus.
He said the Congress demands the immediate establishment of a Covid compensation fund and a financial support of Rs 4 lakh each to the affected families.
"The chief ministers of the Congress-ruled states have written to the Centre in this regard," Vallabh said.
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