By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, March 12: State Fince Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s announcement for assistance to next of kin of jourlists in his Budget proposals for fiscal 2018-19 is a real short in the arm of the Jourlist Family Benefit Fund (JFBF).
“In my last Budget speech, I proposed to constitute a Jourlist Family Benefit Fund (JFBF) for providing fincial assistance to the bereaved family members of jourlists who may have lost their lives while on duty. As announced, we have already sanctioned Rs.100 lakh for this purpose, and I am also making adequate Budget provisions for this in the budget 2018-19.”
According to Sarma, as promised in last Budget speech, the Pension Scheme for Jourlists has been introduced to provide retirement benefits to jourlists working for more than 20 years in the State Assam. “We’ve already distributed individual pensions of Rs. 8000 per month to many respected jourlists. We’ll continue this scheme with a provision of awarding pensions to additiol 20 jourlists each year. The necessary Budget provisions have been made. Moreover, with a view to ensuring security and protection of the jourlists and their families, I now propose to introduce a new scheme ‘Jourlist Insurance Scheme’, the guidelines and modalities of which will be prepared by the department. I am proposing adequate budget provision for the same. I have made necessary provisions for the setting up of the “Media Fellowship” for pursuing higher studies in jourlism so that 20 media persons can be selected for this fellowship at the rate of Rs. 50,000 each.”
Sarma further said that as a token of appreciation of the work being done by the Media Trust, he proposed to give a one-time grant of Rs.10 lakh to the Trust. “I earmark a budgetary allocation of Rs. 63 crore in 2018-19 for the Department,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Assam Press Correspondents’ Union (APCU) welcomed the Budget sops for jourlists. On this issue, the APCU had submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister on March 5, 2018 through his Media Adviser Hrishikesh Goswami. The union thanked the Chief Minister, Fince Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and CM’s Media Adviser Hrishikesh Goswami for the gesture.