U.P. hikes compensation for COVID deaths during poll duty

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The kin of staff who died after contracting COVID-19 while on polling duty in the Uttar Pradesh panchayat elections, will now be eligible for ex-gratia compensation even if the death occurred 30 days after the day of duty.

The State cabinet headed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday evening passed the proposal to relax the rules of compensation for staff who died on poll duty after criticism from teachers’ unions who had argued that the current rules of compensation laid out by the State Election Commission were not practical for COVID-19.

The unions argued that since people develop symptoms and die days and even weeks after exposure, the SEC’s rule that an official was considered to be on election duty only from the period he or she left their residence for training, polling and counting work till they reached their residence after work, did not make sense.

The government has now increased the eligibility period to 30 days, a government spokesperson said. The cabinet also approved a hike in compensation from ₹15 lakh to ₹30 lakh. The decision comes as the BJP leaders began a series of meetings with party workers ahead of the Assembly polls in U.P. next year.

Test results

As evidence of death by COVID-19, an RAT, RT-PCR positive test report, blood report or CT scan showing COVID infection would be considered, the spokesperson said.

“In certain circumstances, a COVID-19 patient can die of post-COVID complications even after testing negative,” the government said. Such deaths are also considered to have been due to COVID-19, the government added.

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