Editorial: Mere announcements
Srinagar: Minister for Finance has announced that the pensioners of Jammu and Kashmir government will get insurance cover from the next year. Though the announcement is a great relief for the pensioners of the state, the statement by the finance minister however, has left many questions unanswered.
No doubt the pensioners are a nation’s treasure and are the repository of tradition and culture. But, the promise made to them should have been announced after some ground work which could have given some semblance of seriousness on the part of the government.
Notably, the scheme is to be initiated from the next fiscal and the government, according to the announcement made will provide all the pensioners a free insurance cover. The government felt that the situation in the last three decades has taken a toll on the society which has lost the sense of eldership. Therefore, the enormous change in the society also impacts the way our senior citizens are treated in their day to day life.
The governments concern, though genuine, needs some quick responses vis-a-vis announcement of the scheme. The government is not doing the exercise for the first time. Prior, to this the state government in collaboration with a private insurance company had announced a General Health Insurance cover for its Gazetted employees.
Nearly 20,000 employees of the state government had availed the scheme which had fixed an amount of rupees 6040 as a yearly premium and had covered six members of a family under this scheme. The scheme was unique in the sense that it also covered pre existing diseases also. Moreover, the state government too was sharing the profits of the scheme as nearly 600 Rupees (from the premium amount) went into the government’s kitty.
However, all of a sudden the government decided to call the scheme off and announced a general health insurance scheme for all government employees.
This is for the government to decide as to which scheme it deems fit to continue and which one to wind up, but as far as generating a hope among the pensioners is concerned, some questions needs immediate answers.
One, who will pay for the premium that is to be deposited in favour of the company that will offer the services. Secondly, the health insurance clauses make it out clearly that those who fall in the category of above 50 years of age will not be covered under insurance schemes. In this back drop what are the government’s plans to get the pensioners on the platform of beneficiaries.
Given this scenario, the government should come out with some facts on the announcement made so that there is no confusion that can otherwise take a heavy toll on our elders.