Many opt out of Delhi govt.’s COVID-19 compensation scheme

Most of them belong to affluent families; relief available irrespective of economic background, say officials

Many people across the city, who are eligible for a compensation of ₹50,000 and in some cases an extra ₹2,500 per month for death of their family member due to COVID-19, have refused to apply for it, as per officials and a document seen by The Hindu.

Most of the people who have opted out are from affluent families, according to officials. The scheme is available to people irrespective of their economic background.

Reasons cited

‘Don’t require any help’, ‘not interested’, ‘all government job employees’, and ‘don’t want to take money’ were some of the reasons cited by people, who did not wish to take the relief, as per the document.

A list from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which has names of people who died due to COVID-19, has been shared by the government with all 11 districts and officials are contacting family members of people on the list to tell them about the scheme.

Many people are also directly applying for the scheme after coming to know about it through other means.

Some remarks on the document are interesting too. Against the name of a person who had occupied a top government post, the remarks on the document read “warned not to call this number”.

Another remark read, “Akash [name changed] is alive. Wrong entry in record. Akash is not dead.”

An official said that in north Delhi, they have observed that most people rejecting the scheme are from Model Town. “Model Town is the area where people are affluent compared to rest of north Delhi. Here many say they don’t want the scheme. They don’t want to go through the process for ₹50,000,” the official said.

“Mostly rich people are refusing the scheme. Right now, ₹50,000 is not a very big amount. Also, if a person died and the spouse is also not alive, then the compensation has to be divided among the children, so the amount each one gets will be even lesser. Many don’t even talk and are very rude to the staffers who call them over phone,” another official said.

Income bar

When asked whether the government should have kept an income bar for the scheme, the official said, “If the government kept an income limit for beneficiaries to avail the scheme, then it will add one more document and make the process more difficult.”

But people denying to avail the scheme is increasing the load on lower-rank staffers, as the denial has to be given in writing by the family member.

“When a person says no, but doesn’t give it in writing and we submit the list, our supervisor sends it back to us. Then we have to check with the same person again and some people get irritated when we call them again,” a lower-rank official said.

“Many don’t want to give it in writing and we have to try at least three to four times,” the official added.

On June 22, ‘Mukhyamantri COVID-19 Pariwar Aarthik Sahayata Yojna’, was notified to “provide immediate financial relief” to families who had lost their dear ones to COVID-19.

Under the same scheme, a one-time ₹50,000 is given to a family if they lost someone to COVID-19 and a monthly assistance of ₹2,500 each to specific categories of people, who lost their family members the virus.

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