Govt not clear on promised Student Insurance Scheme

Morung Express News
Dimapur | March 7

Incorporated in the ‘Sports & Youth Affairs’ section, was another pledge declaring, “A new insurance scheme for students studying outside Nagaland to be launched within 100 days.” It was also mentioned in the NDPP Election Manifesto, which stated- “to provide for deaths and illness of registered students studying outside the state.” 

A year since the March 8, 2018 announcement little has been heard in the public domain of the elusive Insurance Scheme excluding a couple of occasions. In August, the government informed of “setting up a cell for the implementation of the insurance scheme for students studying outside Nagaland under which the government will provide a sum of INR 5 Iakh in case of unfortunate death of any such student.” Later in November, the CM speaking at an NDPP convention in Kohima was quoted stating to have introduced the scheme “to cover unfortunate fatalities.” 

In March 2019, confusion persists with the latest update from the government differing with the CM’s statement. A state government official, on condition of anonymity, disclosed that the process of introducing the Scheme was still underway awaiting approval of “competent authority.” The official said there are “different levels in government and processing will take some.”

Minister for Higher & Technical Education Temjen Imna Along Longkumer told The Morung Express that “the insurance policy is being formulated now” and would likely be introduced in 1-2 months time. He did not go into details.

Ambiguity further prevails as to whether the government has had a change of mind repackaging it as an Ex-gratia scheme. In the Governor’s introductory address to the Assembly in the Budget session, an Ex-gratia scheme for students studying outside Nagaland was announced pledging Rs. 5 lakh for death. The Insurance Scheme found no mention in the ensuing session. 

Queried on this, the official maintained the Insurance Scheme and the Ex-gratia Scheme are one and the same. “The department was asked to come up with a proposal to implement the scheme last year. Draft guidelines, rules and regulations along with financial implications for implementation were prepared.”

It was added that once approved, additional fund will be needed to set up the working mechanism, which has been proposed to be applied “through a mobile app using the edistrict online portal.”

“We have worked out the outline in consultation with the IT department. The details will be finalised after the approval of the government, while adding, “We are trying to include major accidents etc in the gambit.”