New Delhi: The third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, driven by the Omicron variant, has spiked the Covid death toll of India to more than 5 lakh as of March 9, minister of state for health Bharati Pravin Pawar told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
Responding to Trinamool Congress MP Abir Ranjan Biswas’ query, Pawar said, “A total of 5,15,355 deaths due to Covid-19 have been reported by states and Union Territories in the country as of 9 March 2022.”
She also provided state-wise data, according to which Maharashtra is leading the death toll with 1,43,745 reported casualties, followed by Kerala (66,374), Karnataka (40,004), Tamil Nadu (38,019), Delhi (26,139) and Uttar Pradesh (23,485).
According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) guidelines, ₹50,000 will be provided as ex-gratia to the next of kin of people who succumbed to the deadly Covid-19 virus. This amount is to be distributed by the respective states/UTs from the State Disaster Response Funds, Pawar added.
Responding to another question on “undercounted” Covid-19 mortalities, Pawar said, “Certain reports have speculated excess deaths higher than the number of Covid-19 fatalities officially reported by India. These reports have relied on unvalidated methodologies, or the data sources used to derive ‘estimates’ are not reliable.”