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State eyes insurance plan for scribes

Patna, Jan. 20: The state government is planning to introduce an insurance scheme for journalists.

The proposal is likely to get a clearance from the cabinet tomorrow.

Under the scheme, journalists working in the state would get medical insurance of Rs 5 lakh, which would also cover their family members. In addition to this, an accident insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh would be given to the journalists. The state government would pay 80 per cent of the insurance premium and the beneficiaries would contribute the remaining.

Asked about the reason behind forming the Bihar State Journalist Insurance Policy, information and public relations minister Brishen Patel said, “The present scheme (Patrakar Kalyan Kosh) is not effective. Even the amount is very less. So, we thought of making the policy in such a way that it will cater to a large number of journalists in the state.”

A senior officer with the department, which has drafted the policy, said: “Bihar journalists with five years of minimum experience, will get the benefit of the policy under which they would get Rs 5 lakh medical insurance and Rs 5 lakh accident insurance cover. The medical insurance would cover the journalist, their life partner and two children.”

The medical insurance of Rs 5 lakh would be given annually and needs to get renewed every year.

“The medical insurance would be of two types. One would be cash-free under which the insurance company will provide the card, where hospital names will be mentioned, to the journalist. The second category is that a journalist opts for a hospital and spends the money on his own. Later, the insurance company would reimburse the sum,” said the official.

With an aim to financially support the stringers and district correspondents, the policy mentions that a journalist should have a matriculation degree to avail the benefits.

“There are many journalists at the district- and divisional-level working in the field for a long time. However, they do not get any financial support as far as insurance is concerned. So, the department has taken the matter seriously and has decided to give the benefit to them as well. Most of the big media houses already have insurance schemes for their reporters who are permanent. However, the non-permanent correspondents and stringers do not get the benefit,” the official said.

To avail the benefit, the resident editor or the bureau chief of the company will have to certify that the journalist concerned has experience of five years or more.