THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: T K Raju Thamarakunnil and his family were staring at a dark future after the two-time member of the Koodaranji panchayat in Kozhikode was diagnosed with cancer. But the government’s plan to formulate a health insurance scheme for former members of the local self-government bodies by April has brought a whiff of relief for the family.
A seven-member panel headed by Panchayat Deputy Director Ajith Kumar has submitted a report regarding the viability of giving pensions and starting a health insurance scheme for the former representatives of local self-government bodies. While pensions are still a long way to go, the health insurance scheme is well on its way.
“The sub-committee submitted the report to the government, which in turn forwarded it to various panchayats to prepare a detailed list of beneficiaries. This list is now with the government for the past few months,” said K V Abdul Rahman, president, All Kerala Former Panchayat Members Association.
“We received 90 per cent data. Some of the municipalities are yet to provide the lists of their former representatives. Once we get them by April, we will set the scheme into motion. Over 25,000 people are expected to benefit from the scheme in the first stage. Those who do not give the list before the first phase is implemented can enrol later. All alive former representatives of the local body institutions will get the health insurance benefit,” said Ajith.
There are close to 60,000 former panchayat members in the state and a good percentage of them will benefit from the health insurance scheme. As per the law, no person with a government job or working a private sector company with 50 per cent government share can contest elections to the local self government bodies. This means that after they stop being the members of the LSG bodies, most of them struggle to find jobs. Hence, the proposed health cover will come as a great help to such persons, said experts.