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Insurance scheme for tribal community caught in red tape

Three months have passed since the validity of the group insurance scheme for members of the tribal community in Kerala expired, but the government is yet to renew the scheme. 

Published: 18th January 2022 06:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th January 2022 06:17 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: Three months have passed since the validity of the group insurance scheme for members of the tribal community in Kerala expired, but the government is yet to renew the scheme. The insurance scheme that ensures Rs 1 lakh compensation to members of tribal community in case of death or permanent disability caused by accidents or wild animal attack, had been a big relief for the community. 

According to the scheme, up to Rs 5,000 will be provided per year for hospitalisation due to wild animal attack and Rs 5,000 for damage to hutments caused by wild animals.  Besides, the scheme ensures Rs 1,000 per year for transportation of affected person to hospital. The scheme was a big relief for members of the disadvantaged community who are afraid of visiting hospitals due to financial constraints.

In reply to an RTI query by Benny John of Kurachund in Kozhikode district, the forest department admitted that the validity of the insurance scheme expired on September 25, 2021, and a proposal has been submitted to the government for its renewal. Dependents of people who died in wild animal attacks and people who sustained injuries after the date will not be eligible for compensation.

“The members of the tribal community who live in forest often face attack from wild animals and most of the community members are not able to afford hospital expenses. The scheme was a big relief for us. The government should initiate steps to renew the insurance scheme immediately,” said tribal activist Binu Puthenpurackal.

The forest department had introduced the insurance scheme on September 26, 2020, in association with the United India Insurance Company to extend insurance cover against wild animal attacks to the entire tribal community. Principal chief conservator of forest was the insurer and the premium was Rs 15 lakh.
Admitting that the insurance scheme has not been renewed, deputy conservator Viju Varghese said the government has already issued an order and the scheme will be renewed soon. 

“We had written to the government about the renewal of the scheme on September 6, 2021, and the government had sought some clarifications on November 2. In fact the government wanted to expand the coverage of the scheme to include crop loss. The department had submitted a clarification on November 18 and the government issued an order to renew the scheme,” the deputy conservator said.

“Steps have been taken to renew the insurance scheme and a government order has already been issued in this regard. The formalities are being completed,” said an officer at the forest minister’s office.



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