The latest announcement by the Kerala government comes as a massive relief to the families who lost their loved ones to COVID-19. The government has assured a monthly financial aid of ₹ 5,000 to the below poverty line families who have lost the family's sole earning member to the virus. This is additional to ₹50,000 one-time ex-gratia to the families of all COVID-19 victims as per the Supreme Court directive. The new scheme will also include deaths outside the states, including those that happened in foreign countries. Therefore, expatriates who lost their battle with COVID shall also be compensated, provided their families reside in Kerala and belong to the BPL category.
1,000 Keralites Died Overseas
The amount will be directly transferred to the registered bank account of the first dependent for the next three years. According to the government data, 3,570 Indians lost their lives abroad, including more than 3,000 deaths in the middle east. In a follow-up on the deaths of Indian expatriates, the Department of Non-Resident Keralite's Affairs (NORKA) found that over 1,000 Keralites had died because of COVID in overseas countries till July. So far, the state has reported 26,573 deaths, and the 7,000 deaths that were omitted from the list would soon be added.
Substantial Financial Stress To Govt
The state government has fixed the criteria so that the family income of the deceased would be taken into account by the revenue authorities to decide whether a family falls below or above the poverty line. The scheme has mandated that if the only earning member dies, and all others are either minors or jobless, they would be entitled to the compensatory aid. The New Indian Express reported that this decision is likely to cause substantial financial implications for the government though it has not made an assessment yet. The application process for the scheme is set to begin soon.