Tripura Cabinet on Wednesday approved the proposal to introduce a health insurance cover for accredited journalists associated with print, web, and electronic media organisations.
According to the proposed scheme, journalists in the age group 21-65 years who have not enrolled in other health insurance schemes or Ayushman Bharat, can be considered eligible for the benefits of the scheme. Information and Cultural Affairs Minister Sushanta Chowdhury informed that the insurance will cover medical expenses up to Rs 3 lakh.
Elaborating on the same, Chowdhury said that there are altogether 177 journalists who are already accredited with the ICA department of the state.
“We have invited new applications for journalists accreditation and so far I know, about 250 new applications have been submitted. After proper scrutiny, we shall select the beneficiaries”, said the Minister.
Chowdhury further clarified that 80 percent of the annual premium would be borne by the state government while the rest of the amount needs to be contributed by the beneficiary himself.
“For instance, if the total premium is Rs 5,000, the state government will pay Rs 4,000 and the rest of the amount will have to be borne by the journalist. Through this scheme, the beneficiary journalist will be entitled to get an insurance cover up to Rs 3 lakh”, he added.
On the modalities, the Minister said that the state government will now invite tenders from different insurance companies.
“Within the next 10 to 15 days, we are going to start the tendering process. Hopefully, within the next two months, the process will be complete. The state government will also look after good companies having a large web empanelled hospitals get selected for the scheme”, he said.
On being asked about the state government’s target, Chowdhury said that they have set a target to cover at least 1,000 journalists in the first phase.
To get entitled to the scheme, the journalist must be a permanent resident of Tripura and accredited with the state government or Press Information Bureau (PIB).
Among other significant decisions, the state cabinet has approved 600 new posts in elementary education and 340 posts for graduate and post-graduate teachers which are to be filled shortly.
The ration money of the Tripura State Rifles Jawans had also been increased from Rs 800 to 1,000 and service tenure was extended to 60 years from 57 years.
The Minister also informed the media persons that stamp duty payable by the Self Help Groups groups under the Tripura Rural Livelihood Mission (TRLM) and National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) schemes were exempted from loans up to Rs 10 lakh.