MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government Saturday gave administrative approval to a pension scheme for senior journalists in the state, which has been a long-pending demand of the media fraternity.
Last year, the government had made a budgetary provision of Rs 15 crore towards implementation of such a scheme in view of rising demands from various quarters.
As per a Government Order (GO) issued Saturday, the "Acharya Balshastri Jambhekar Sanman Yojana" will be implemented by the board of trustees of the 'Shankarrao Chavan Suvarna Mahotsavi Patrakar Kalyan Nidhi'.
The pension amount is not yet finalised. Under the scheme, working journalists, photographers, editors of newspapers and other news broadcast media as well as freelancers who have attained 60 years of age and above and have completed 30 years in profession, will be eligible.
The senior journalists have to be accredited for minimum 10 years, and journalism should be their only source of income.
Except the Employee Provident Fund (EPF), the applicant should notAccredited journalists with 10 years of experience who practice journalism for livelihood will be eligible for the pension. be getting any pension from any other source, the GO said.
Interestingly, one of the eligibility criteria makes it mandatory that the applicant should not be a Income Tax payee.
The pension will be given only during the beneficiary's lifetime and not to his/her kin after death, it said.
To avail of the scheme, senior journalists nearing their retirement will have to submit requisite documents to district information office.
The documents will be scrutinised by a committee of Directorate of Information and Public Relations.
It will be committee's discretion to decide about granting pension to non-accredited journalists who fulfill the eligibility conditions.