Monday, November 29, 1999

Sibal unveils ambitious insurance scheme for 60 lakh teachers

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New Delhi, June 18 (PTI) An ambitious scheme to provide 60 lakh teachers life and health insurance and a vocational education framework are among a 10-point agenda unveiled by government today to make education a quality affair. Starting an institute for quality control in school education in the country and merging All India Engineering Entrance Examination and All India Pre-Medical Test are among the agenda announced by HRD Minister Kapil Sibal for 2010-11. Sibal presented the agenda before the state education ministers for implementation in collaboration with state governments. "The ministers welcomed the proposals. We will now start working on how to implement these measures," Sibal told reporters after the State Education Ministers Conference here. The agenda also includes plans for reducing multiplicity of entrance examinations for admission into higher educational institutions. Government wants to set up a National Institute for Assessment and Evaluation which will serve as an advisory institution to help school boards volunteering to seek help in assessment and evaluation. The agency will frame criteria for different streams of education at school levels and can evaluate curriculum and education standards at schools in different states and suggest measures to improve them. Sibal, who held discussions with state education ministers at the meeting of National Foundation for Teachers'' Welfare (NFTW), said the proposed insurance schemes have got "in principle" approval at the meeting. "I discussed with state education ministers today on the plan for starting insurance and housing schemes for 60 lakh teachers. In principle approval has been given by them for the schemes," he said. The insurance schemes will require financial contributions from the Centre, the states and the teachers. The group housing scheme will be administered at the central level but will not require financial contribution from the Centre or the state governments. The health and life insurance schemes are proposed to cost premium wise, far less for teachers as compared to individual schemes or even schemes run at the state level. The state education ministers welcomed the proposal and the immense benefit that will accrue to teachers, but said they would be able to communicate formal approval after discussing it with their finance ministers. The life insurance cover would guarantee a minimum of about Rs five lakh on retirement and Rs two lakh on death during service. The health cover, limited to hospitalisation of the teacher, spouse, two children and parents, is being worked on two options, either on a maximum cover of Rs 1.25 lakh, which would mean lesser premium and another option of cover of Rs three lakh, which would mean a higher premium. The group housing scheme is being envisaged to be centrally administered through a portal, with construction to be done by NBCC, land to be bought at institutional rates and group housing societies to be formed by teachers. Insurance coverage to 60 lakh teachers is seen as one of the largest insurance scheme by the government.

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