Lucknow, May 31 (PTI) The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet on Monday approved a financial assistance of Rs 30 lakh for the kin of the government personnel who died during duty in the recently-held panchayat election, including those who succumbed to COVID-19 within 30 days of poll duty, a spokesperson said.
The Cabinet which met virtually also approved increasing the ex-gratia amount from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 30 lakh.
'The duration of duty as defined by the Election Commission of India was the basis on which the State Election Commission had formed the guidelines, in which the duration of COVID-19 infection and death was not considered. Hence, for the ex-gratia, death due to COVID-19 within 30 days from election duty has been made the eligibility criteria,' the spokesperson said.
The decision by the UP Cabinet comes days after a teachers' body claimed that over 1,600 teachers and workers of the Basic Education Department have died in Uttar Pradesh since the first week of April due to COVID-19, and said that 90 per cent of them were on panchayat polls duty.
'As many as 1,621 teachers and workers of the Basic Education Department have died since the first week of April following the outbreak of the second wave of COVID-19 to May 16. Of these 1,621 deaths, more than 90 per cent of the teachers were on panchayat election duty,' Dinesh Chandra Sharma, president of the Uttar Pradesh Praathmik Shikshak Sangh, had told PTI.
He had also claimed while 8-10 people died due to heart attack, the majority of deaths were due to COVID-19.
However, Satish Chandra Dwivedi, the UP minister of state (independent charge) for basic education, had said that all these deaths cannot be attributed to election duty and according to government data, only three teachers had died due to COVID-19. PTI NAV SMN SMN