Orissa announced an insurance policy for school children in the age group of 6-14 with ex gratia ranging between Rs 10,000 for accidents and Rs 2 lakh for deaths or permanent disability. The scheme will start from April 1 this year.
“Students often meet with serious accidents while playing in school buildings due to natural calamities and food poisoning. In the recent past, many unfortunate incidents have taken place for which many PILs have been filed before the high court and human rights commissions. The courts, in many of the decisions, ordered the department to compensate the victims. In view of this, a full-fledged umbrella scheme to cover the students of government and government-aided schools in the state was felt necessary,” an order of the Department of School and Mass Education read.
As per the guidelines of the Secondary School Insurance System, each student will be required to contribute Rs 2 per annum as premium. Department of School and Mass Education secretary Usha Padhee said the scheme would call the payment of ex gratia grant from the Students Welfare Fund. All medical expenses would be borne by the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, Red Cross or the Orissa State Treatment Fund as per the norm.
The department said that while there is a student safety insurance scheme for the state’s 12 lakh secondary students, there is no insurance coverage for the 57 lakh elementary students between Class I and VIII. The scheme, however, will be applicable to students of Class IX and X too.
There have been several cases of accidents and mid-day meal poisoning in schools over the last few years in Orissa. Last month, at least 40 students of a government-run upper primary school in a village in Kendrapara district fell ill after allegedly eating a mid-day meal of rotten eggs. In July last year, a similar incident was reported from Nabarangpur district. Recently, six students of Khurda district, some of them matriculation examinees, had died after being struck by a bolt of lightning.