Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday extended the government-sponsored Health insurance scheme Swasthya Sathi to teachers and non-teaching staff of primary and secondary schools across the state. She also said that her government is considering waiving or bringing down the annual development fee of Rs 240, which is the sole fee charged from students in government schools now.
Addressing the Teachers' Day programme at Nazrul Mancha, the Chief minister said: "4.5 lakh teachers and non-teaching staff of schools and madarsas would be included under the Swasthya Sathi scheme. The entire premium will be paid by the state government." The scheme ensures treatment amounting of Rs 1.5 lakh in private hospitals and treatment for critical diseases amounting to Rs 5 lakh.
She further added that as many as four lakh para teachers, contractual staff of schools, SSKs, MSKs and voluntary workers engaged in education-related programmes would also be brought under the aegis of the Health scheme. "The contractual Homeopathy, Unani and Ayush doctors and pathologists, Councillors of municipal bodies, employees associated with urban employment will also come under the scheme," she said According to Banerjee, inclusion of additional beneficiaries will take up the total figure of beneficiaries under the scheme from 47 to 55.5 lakhs.
Announcing that her government will distribute cycles to 30 lakh more students by this year under the Sabuj Sathi project, she said that her government is mulling the idea of bringing in students of Class VIII under this scheme. "We are trying to bring Class VIII students under Sabuj Sathi from next year subject to availability of funds," she said.
As many as 40 lakh cycles have already been handed over to students of Classes IX to XII under this scheme.
She added that despite the financial constraints, her government is emphasising on running the people-centric schemes. In the last six years, SC/ST students were provided scholarships amounting of Rs 1.25 crore and eight crore of the population has been brought under Khadya Sathi scheme that provides rice and wheat at Rs two per kg. State Education minister Partha Chatterjee announced that exercise books and school bags would be distributed free of cost to students of Classes V to VIII. The benefits were provided to the primary students till now. The distribution kicked off from Tuesday with Banerjee handing over the articles to six students as token. Later, various school students present in the programme were given exercise books and school bags.
Banerjee had launched the Swasthya Sathi scheme on December 30, 2016. Civic police volunteers, disaster management workers, ASHA workers, Self-Help Groups, home guards, ICDS workers and other contractual workers get a basic health coverage of Rs 1.5 lakh per year and in case a person suffers from diseases like cancer, liver ailments, blood disorders or need to undergo a neuro surgery or cardio thoracic surgeries, then the coverage will go up to Rs five lakh.
A Swasthya Sathi card holder is entitled to take his parents, spouse, children and even his spouse's parents for treatment. All of them get the same benefits.