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All school children to benefit from Rs.200,000 health cover: FinMin

3 January 2017 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake assuring sustained economic development in the New Year said he was delighted to announce the introduction of a bonanza for all school children from 2017. As envisaged in the budget 2017, over 4.5 million school-going children in the country from the age of five to 19 will be provided with a free health insurance policy certificate worth Rs.200,000 per annum to each and every student irrespective of the number of children in a family.  Karunanayake said that Rs.2,700 million has been set aside for this and it will be worked out through the Education Ministry shortly. Each child will be given a policy certificate for Rs.200,000 covering both the in and outpatient services subject to a maximum of Rs.100,000 for hospitalization and Rs.10,000 for outpatient services.
“The major significance of this scheme is it covers all the students whether they study in government or private schools,” said Karunanayake.
It is a sigh of relief to parents of entire student population of the country as they need not worry about the continuation of the study of their children in the future. The finance minister said that with the introduction of the free medical insurance the government has given a new impetus to the free education as already there are five welfare programmes in place for the well-being of the students.
Distribution of free text books, uniforms, nutritional mid-day meal to needy children, glass of milk to needy students in the primary classes and distribution of a pair of shoes to those who need it are the other welfare benefits implemented by the government.
In the meantime, the finance minister further said that as President Maithripala Sirisena has directed that hereafter no school should be reported of having shortcomings of the basic needs, including desks and chairs, the government has earmarked a plan to provide the basic infrastructure facilities such as electricity, sanitation and water to the remaining 1500 schools in the year 2017 with an additional allocation of Rs.7000 million.
 
The government in 2016 had increased the allocation to the Education Ministry by threefold than it was in 2014 to provide the basic needs to all 10,000 government schools and this year Rs.61 billion worth capital projects will be implemented among the schools to complete the basic needs of all the schools in the country.
Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samarathunge expressed the belief that as the allocations have been made to ministries based on the action plan submitted by the respective line ministries from this year, all projects earmarked for the augmentation of the facilities in schools would be carried out on time. He said that the transfer of funds to projects that are not in their action plans will not be allowed under any circumstances in the future under the zero-based budget-making process.
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