The Union government on Saturday promised pension to families that lost their earning members to Covid-19 and said it had ‘enhanced and liberalized’ the insurance compensation for such families. The government order will be applied retrospectively to cover Covid casualties since the outbreak of the pandemic in March last year.
“To help families… maintain a good standard of living, benefit of ESIC (Employees State Insurance Corporation) pension scheme for employment related death cases is being extended to even those who have died due to Covid. Dependent family members of such persons will be entitled to the benefit of pension equivalent to 90% of average daily wage drawn by the worker as per the existing norms,” a government statement said.
It added that the benefit will be available retrospectively with effect from 24.03.2020 and for all such cases till 24.03.2022.
The move comes in addition to the slew of measures that Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Saturday for supporting children orphaned by Covid-19.
The government also said that insurance benefits under Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme have been enhanced and liberalised to help the families of employees who have lost their lives due to Covid.
“The maximum insurance benefit has been increased from ₹ 6 lakh to ₹ 7 lakh. The provision of minimum insurance benefit of ₹ 2.5 lakh has been restored and will apply retrospectively from 15th February 2020 for the next three years,” the government statement said.
Making the specific mention of the contractual/ casual workers, the statement said that the earlier clause of continuous employment in only one establishment has been done away with.
“Benefit (is) being made available to families of even those employees who may have changed jobs in the last 12 months preceding his death,” the government said, adding that detailed guidelines of these schemes are being issued by the ministry of labour and employment.
Speaking to HT, India’s Central labour commissioner DPS Negi said that they are already in touch with states and are seeking the details of all the workers who have lost their lives to Covid.
He added that these measures will include many new beneficiaries now due to the retrospective effect.
‘Since it is not just the recent deaths, families of workers who have died in the first wave after 24 March last year should also reach out to state governments or central labour commissioner’s office, so they too can avail the benefit of the schemes,” Negi said.
A spokesperson from the labour ministry informed HT that the ministry is already working on a detailed notification containing the guidelines, likely to be out by Monday.
Earlier on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a slew of measures, from schooling to early career support, to help children orphaned by the pandemic through PM CARES For Children- a special fund created for the purpose. A corpus of ₹10 lakh will be allocated to each of these children from the fund. The PM also assured complete financial support of the education of such children till they turn 18 years of age.