After holding several rounds of discussions with various stakeholders, the Law Ministry is ready to launch a cohesive insurance scheme for lawyers.
The scheme includes medical, maternity, accidental and life benefits. Back in February, advocates in the capital and across many states, had held protests criticising the government for denying budgetary allocation for their welfare.
The government has pinned down three kinds of insurance policies. First, a group life insurance policy – in the event of death of the policyholder, a sum of Rs 10 lakh will be paid to the nominee/next of kin. Second, medical insurance policy – mediclaim/healthcare policy of Rs 2.5 lakh to advocates and their family members, and personal accident policy up to Rs 5 lakh.
The premium payable by advocates would depend upon the number of family members.
The mediclaim policy may cover pre-existing diseases and ailments without any waiting period and might include maternity benefits. “The policy may be a floater policy and the insured sum can be utilised by any of the family members under the scheme”, claims the policy note. The group personal accident policy might cover permanent total disablement, and the insured amount will be Rs 5 lakh.
According to the concept note of the scheme, “a person enrolled as an advocate in any roll under the provisions of the Advocates Act is eligible, excluding the lawyers designated as senior advocates.”
At the core, the scheme will benefit advocates at the district and taluka level, who often do not have any kind of social security for themselves and their families, especially in case of medical emergency and death.
“Advocates should have membership of a recognized Bar Association and voluntarily agree to give annual monetary contribution”, said the concept note. The government is yet to decide on the exact name –Pradhan Mantri/Vidhi Mantri Adhivakta Bima Yojna, 2019.
The Department of Legal Affairs will administer the insurance scheme through a committee headed by the Secretary. The government is keen to include representatives from Department of Legal Affairs, Bar Council of India, insurance companies (one from life insurance company and one from non-life insurance company), and Department of Expenditure – on the committee.
The committee will hold consultations and negotiations with life insurance and non life insurance companies (preferably PSUs), and then finalize terms and conditions of the insurance policies, and the premium amount to be deposited each year. “The committee shall also recommend the amount to be given by the Centre each year from budgetary allocation. The committee shall maintain record of all beneficiaries of the scheme,” said the policy note. Various stakeholders’ will be engaged to raise funds for the scheme – central grant, contribution by Bar Associations, contribution by individual advocate, and voluntary donations. IANS