New Delhi, Dec 14: People killed in lightning incidents may now be compensated by the government if a recommendation of the Union Home Ministry to this effect is accepted.
As India accounts for an average 400 deaths due to lightening every year, the Ministry has moved a proposal to the 14th Finance Commission, suggesting inclusion of lightning in the list of notified disasters eligible for assistance from national and state disaster relief funds.
At present, lightning is not among the eligible natural disasters for relief, official sources said. The 14th Finance Commission will submit its report to the government by December 31.
The issue of inclusion of any disaster in the list of notified natural disasters has been considered by the successive Finance commissions set up from time-to-time.
The 13th Finance Commission had considered the proposal for inclusion of lightning. However, no recommendation has come from it for inclusion of lightning as one of the disasters qualifying for assistance from national and state disasters response funds. The state governments are required to provide relief from their own resources, to the people affected due to lightning as per their relief codes and manual, the sources said.
India has unusually high death toll due to lightning every year, mostly during monsoon season. On an average, three people die in Britain each year due to strikes, while in the US, an average 30 people die following lightning strikes.
Lightning normally hit during the June-October and the weekend toll was unusually high. Bamboo-and-thatched huts are generally most at risk. Only around ten per cent of people who are struck by lightning die because the bolt of electricity causes their heart and breathing to stop.
Those who survive tend to wake up from the shock within a few seconds but have little recollection of what happened before the injury. They could suffer minor burns and stroke-like symptoms.