Every student in the state’s aided schools and colleges is covered by an accident insurance for everything from losing a pair of spectacles to a stolen bike, besides all major injuries.
Don’t be surprised if you didn’t know that.
Even the state’s education minister, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, was unaware that such an insurance scheme — Rajiv Gandhi Students’ Accident Insurance — existed till he assumed the post last year.
“Even I was surprised to learn of this bright scheme,” Vikhe-Patil told Hindustan Times. “The government has decided to take it further to unaided schools that includes CBSE, ICSE and even IB schools so that every student will benefit from it.”
He said that if schemes like compulsory Marathi from Class 1 was binding on them, then ICSE, CBSE and IB schools should also get benefits like the Rajiv Gandhi Students’ Accident Insurance from the state as a matter of policy.
In 2008-2009, a premium of Rs 1.69 crore was paid to United India Insurance Company Limited for 2.42 crore students in the state.
The scheme that took off in 2003 covers students of all schools — from Class 1 till they complete college, which includes agriculture and animal husbandry, tribal development, technical and dental colleges in the state.
The cover includes paying Rs 50,000 to a student who faces a permanent handicap in an accident, Rs 30,000 in case of accidental death, Rs 20,000 in case of losing an eye or limb, Rs 2,000 for small injuries and Rs 10,000 for any operation.
It also includes indirect incidental costs like a Rs 650 examination fee refund in case an accident does not allow a
student to appear for an exam, Rs 750 for losing a pair of spectacles, Rs 1,500 if a student’s bicycle is stolen.
Bhartiya Janata Party Member of Legislative Council (MLC) and Opposition leader Pandurang Phundkar raised the issue in the Legislative Council in the question hour.
“Mostly people do not know of it due to lack of publicity, so very few students can benefit from it,” he said.
Shiv Sena MLC Deepak Sawant said, “The procedure of claiming money is tedious. One has to apply to the education department within 7 days of the accident. Not everyone can do that.”
Vikhe-Patil in his reply said, “We are soon considering extending the scope of the scheme to school principals, so that students can apply for claims through them.”
He also told Hindustan Times that the state government would soon release advertisements in newspapers and television and also put up hoardings about the scheme.