NEW DELHI: The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has made a five-fold increase in a journalist welfare scheme, which provides financial assistance to scribes and their families in times of 'extreme hardships,' from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 1 crore, an official said today.
The increase will be effective from April 1.
The scheme provides financial assistance up to Rs 5 lakh to the family in case of death of a journalist, up to Rs 5 lakh to the journalist in case of permanent disability, and up to Rs 3 lakh towards the cost of treatment of major ailments which is not included under Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS), a source said.
"I&B Minister Smriti Irani felt that the current provision was not enough. Such a huge hike is made for the first time to avoid scarcity of fund for providing financial assistance to the journalists and their families," the source said.
Against the provision of Rs 15 lakh in 2016-17, Rs 25.88 lakh was disbursed during the period.
From 2013-14 to 2016-17, the provision under the scheme was Rs 15 lakh per fiscal.
The amount was increased to Rs 20 lakh for the current fiscal.
The scheme covers journalists accredited to the Press Information Bureau (PIB), state governments/UTs, and non-accredited journalists working for a minimum five continuous years either whole or part time as news editor, reporter, photographer, cameraman and freelance journalist.