The Indian government is required to submit an affidavit to the Supreme Court today which outlines their plan of simplifying the process of issuing death certificates for COVID-19 victims.
On June 30, the Supreme Court ordered compensation payments to be made to families of deceased victims of COVID-19 under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. To streamline payments, the court told the government that the lengthy process of issuing death certificates had to be simplified. Since then, however, the government has been sluggish, requesting three separate extensions to the deadline.
The government is expected to meet its deadline today, as the court warned that this is their “last opportunity”. But, the government’s slow response will likely contribute to growing discontent over their mishandling of the pandemic. Slow economic recovery, a poor vaccine rollout, and criticisms over holding high-risk political rallies during the pandemic appear to be taking a toll—demonstrated by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s poor electoral performance in West Bengal. If the government meets today’s deadline, they may enjoy a popularity boost in the longer term. By offering direct financial relief to victims, the government might avert the public’s gaze from their failures and refocus the narrative to their benefit.
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Rob is an Analyst on the Current Developments team. As a researcher, he specializes in global governance and climate politics, as well as South Asian geopolitics.