Punjab Finance Department has notified detailed guidelines for the grant of ex-gratia compensation to the tune of Rs 50 lakh to the dependant members/legal heirs of employees, who die in harness while on Government duty fighting against Coronavirus pandemic.
The compensation is admissible only for the pandemic of COVID-19 and it would remain in force from April 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020 subject to review thereafter.
Disclosing this here today, an official spokesperson said that the said ex-gratia would be applicable to all categories of the regular employees of the state Government, who die in harness due to COVID-19 disease contracted while performing official duties. The ex-gratia would be admissible to all employees covered under old pension scheme and those recruited on and after January 1, 2004 and covered under the New Pension Scheme (NPS).
The ex-gratia shall be admissible only where the employee is involved directly in the state’s fight to control the spread of coronavirus viz the employees on duty at COVID hospitals/Critical Care Centres, drivers transporting citizens of the state from other states/COVID patients/suspects etc, ration distribution, curfew/lockdown implementation etc.
Divulging details about the ex-gratia compensation, the Spokesperson said that the Civil Surgeon of the concerned district, where the employee was on duty, would be the competent authority to certify, whether the employee was Corona positive and death in such case is attributable to COVID-19 disease resulting from the coronavirus.
The Deputy Commissioner of the concerned district would be the competent authority to certify whether the employee was on duty in the state’s battle against the COVID-19 while the coronavirus has been contracted by such employee. The Deputy Commissioner, while issuing such certificate can call upon the report from Head of Office to ascertain nature of duties entrusted upon such an employee and whether the coronavirus could have been acquired/contracted by the employee in the line of his/her official duty. The ex-gratia claim submitted by the office would be accompanied by both these certificates issued by the concerned Deputy Commissioners and Civil Surgeon only and cannot be delegated to any other official.
In all other cases where the employee dies in harness and the death is natural/suicidal/homicidal not attributable to official duty or where the employee was not directly involved in state’s fight against coronavirus, the existing instructions of ex-gratia shall be applicable.
These instructions shall not be applicable to all such cases, which are covered and eligible under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana-Insurance Scheme for workers fighting COVID 19.
The Spokesperson, however, said that the cases of providing monetary relief to the dependants of manpower working on contract or through outsourcing, who die in harness due to the COVID-19 disease contracted while performing official duties would be considered under the provisions of the “Chief Minister’s Relief Fund”.
It may be recalled that the COVID-19 has been declared as a pandemic by WHO on March 11, 2020 and subsequently the Punjab Government also notified under the Epidemic Disease Act 1897. The State Government has taken various containment measures to restrict further spread of this virus including lockdown/curfew across the state since March 23, 2020 besides taking a series of unprecedented preventive and corrective measures to counter the challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To fight this pandemic, not only the employees of Health & Family Welfare and Medical Education & Research Departments but employees from other departments are also working incessantly. There is always a probability of such employees working at the frontline to contract infection. Therefore, the state Government,after careful consideration, has decided to put in place special provisions with regard to ex-gratia permissible to the dependants/legal heirs of the employees, who die in harness while on Government duty during the fight against coronavirus.