Free insurance cover for pensioners from next year: Fin Min

Srinagar: The government on Thursday announced free insurance cover for the pensioners of the state government.

“Pensioners are a nation’s treasure. They are the repository of our tradition and culture. Keeping in view their contributions and hardships, we have decided that the government will provide them free insurance cover from the next fiscal,” Minister for Finance and Labour & Employment, Dr Haseeb A Drabu, said.

Dr Drabu said the new insurance scheme will cover all the state pensioners of Jammu and Kashmir, “Our Government’s endeavor is that all senior citizens should get insurance cover, whether they have been state government employees or not and we will hopefully move towards that end in coming years,” he said.

The Finance Minister said the situation in the last three decades has taken a toll on the society which has lost the sense of eldership, “Our cultural values and tradition have got eroded due to the situation in the last three decades. Society has changed enormously which also impacts the way our senior citizens are treated in their day to day life,” he said.

The Finance Minister was speaking at a function at Sheikh-ul-Alam Hall in Budgam where hundreds of pensioners from J&K Pensioners Welfare Association were present. They were led by the Chairman of the Association, Sampath Prakash.

The meeting was also attended by District Development Commissioner, Budgam, Muhammad Harun, Senior Superintendent of Police, Budgam, Tejinder Singh, Senior Citizens, Civil Society representatives and other officers of the District Administration.

Earlier, the pensioners put forth a list of issues faced by them before the Finance Minister and sought his intervention in getting them addressed. They said the benefits given to pensioners of state government must be extended to state pensioners also.

The issues include removal in anomalies in SRO 94, enhancement of medical allowances for pensioners from Rs 300 to Rs 2000, decreasing commutation from 15 to 12 years, in toto implementation of Senior Citizens Act, fulfillment of demands put forth in pre-budget discussion in Dec 2016, separate department to deal with the issues of pensioners, hostels for pensioners in every district headquarter, OneRank-One Pension policy for police personnel and low rate of interest on bank loans for pensioners.

The Finance Minister assured them that their genuine demands will be addressed in a proper timeframe.

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