Chief Minister Sh. Naveen Patnaik recently declared working journalists of the state of Odisha as the frontline COVID-19 warriors. This announcement was made under the Odisha govt’s Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana 2023. With this announcement, over 6,500 journalists are going to be benefitted in the state.
What is Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana 2023
Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana is a Health Insurance Scheme for Journalists. Under this scheme, all the working journalists will get an insurance coverage of Rs. 2 lakh per annum. The insurance coverage will be applicable for cashless treatment in all Public / Private hospitals. Journalists can avail free treatment upto Rs. 2 Lakh through Health Insurance Card.
Odisha govt. has also announced an ex gratia of Rs 15 lakh for the next of kin of journalists who die of COVID-19 while performing their duty under Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana. This scheme was made operational by the Odisha state government from 1 June 2018. Initially, around 3233 journalists from different media groups were getting this Insurance Coverage. But now as many as 6,944 working journalists of the state have been covered.
Salient Features of Odisha Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana
The important features and highlights of this scheme for Media Persons in Odisha are as follows:-
- Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana is a welfare scheme for media persons in the state.
- In the 1st phase, this Health Insurance Scheme was covering 3,233 working journalists. Now it is going to going 6500 media persons.
- All the working media persons will get an insurance coverage of upto Rs. 2 lakh per year.
- At-least 5 Members of Journalists family will be covered under Odisha Journalists Health Insurance Scheme.
- This scheme was made operational firstly from 1 June 2018.
- The scheme includes cashless treatment in government and private hospitals.
- It also covers illness and injuries faced by journalists while performing their duties.
This scheme has been launched to counter injuries / illness faced by the journalists while performing their duties. People from Media groups work in adverse conditions to provide correct information & bring out truth. So, it is the responsibility of the state govt. to provide them health insurance and that’s why Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana has been re-launched.
About Gopabandhu Das
- The scheme has been named after Gopabandhu Das. He was a popular reformer, social worker, journalist, political activist, essayist and a poet in Odisha.
- His contributions to the field of culture, art and society earned him the “Epithet of Utkalmani”. It means the Jewel of Odisha.
- He launched a magazine called “Satyabadi”. His contributions to journalism were short but remarkable.
Other States Declaring Journalists as Frontline Workers
Several other states also declared journalists as frontline workers. This includes Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh.
Significance of Declaring Media Persons as Frontline Workers
The significance of declaring journalists as frontline workers is that they will be vaccinated in Phase I of COVID-19 vaccination programme of India. The beneficiaries of phase I of COVID-19 vaccination programme are health care workers, frontline workers and those in the population greater than fifty years. The current frontline workers are home guards, armed forces, prison staff, municipal workers, civil defence volunteers including disaster management volunteers.
A delegation of journalists met CM Naveen Patnaik and thanked him for this scheme. This delegation also drew the attention of CM to problems faced by scribes while performing their duties. So, they also demanded a New Pension Scheme for Journalists.
Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana Health Card for Journalists
All the journalists can avail the benefits of Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana with the use of a new Health Insurance Card. All the media persons (scribes) can obtain their Health Card from District Information and Public Relations Officer (DIPRO) in their respective districts.
CM Naveen Patnaik also interacted with journalists after the announcement of Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana. Media is the 4th Pillar of the Indian Democracy and it is necessary to ensure that it is maintained. Chief Minister encourages Journalists and also appreciate their efforts for their contribution to society. CM also makes commitment for free press and welfare of journalists.