The Union Health Ministry on Saturday clarified that media reports claiming LIC IPO data confirming massive death numbers in 2021 are speculative and not factual.
“There has been a media report published related to IPO proposed to be issued by LIC, wherein mentioning the details of policies and claims settled by LIC, a speculative and biased interpretation has been made that the Covid-19 related mortalities could be more than those recorded officially. It is clarified that these reports are speculative and baseless”, said health ministry in a statement.
The ministry said further that while claims settled by LIC relate to Life insurance policies taken by policy holders for deaths due to all causes, but the news reports conclude that this would imply Covid deaths were underreported. “A flawed interpretation like this is not based on facts and highlights the bias of the author. It also reveals lack of understanding of how the Covid-19 deaths in India are collated and published daily in public domain since the beginning of the pandemic”, the ministry said.
India has a very transparent and efficient system of reporting COVID-19 deaths. Right from the Gram Panchayat level to the District-level and the State level, the process of reporting deaths is monitored and carried out transparently. The Government of India has adopted a globally recognised categorization to classify COVID deaths, the ministry clarified. “In the model so adopted, compilation of the total deaths in India is undertaken by the Centre based on the independent reporting by the States”, it added.
“All States and UTs were engaged through multiple platforms, formal communications, video conferences and through deployment of Central teams for correct recording of deaths in accordance with the prescribed guidelines. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has also issued ‘Guidance for appropriate recording of COVID-19 related deaths in India’ for correct recording of all deaths as per ICD-10 codes recommended by World Health Organisation (WHO)”, the ministry said.
“Quoting issues as sensitive as death during a global public health crisis like Covid-19 should be dealt with utmost sensitivity and authenticity. India has a robust Civil Registration System (CRS) and Sample Registration System (SRS) which was in place even before the COVID-19 pandemic and covers all States and UTs”, ministry added.
The ministry further said that the registration of deaths in the country has a legal backing. The registration is done under the Registration of Births and Deaths Act (RBD Act, 1969) by functionaries appointed by the State Governments. Thus, data generated through CRS has utmost credibility and should be used rather than depending on unauthenticated data, the ministry said further.