More than six decades after the country attained freedom, the Centre has waked up to the need to provide a health insurance cover to freedom fighters who are in the twilight of their lives.
The move comes at a time when the home ministry has set in motion a process to thwart attempts by certain people to fraudulently claim benefits available to freedom fighters through false claims.
The reconstituted Eminent Freedom Fighters Committee has, in its recent meeting, decided to upgrade facilities for the beneficiaries, including formulation of insurance schemes by the health ministry.
Accepting the panel’s demand, minister of state for home Ajay Maken, who presided over the meeting, said he would soon write to the health ministry and would also ensure that those who had fought for the country’s freedom are ensured prompt medical treatment closer to their homes.
The panel has accepted the idea mooted by Maken to hold its periodic meetings at places that had linkages to the freedom struggle. Incidentally, the committee for the first time held its meeting outside Delhi last week and met at Goa.
DNA had earlier reported about the home ministry busting a racket of fraudulent freedom fighters. Maken assured the committee that a mechanism has been put in place to ensure that only genuine freedom fighters got benefits of the schemes meant for them.
The ministry has already decided that nobody who was less than 15 years of age at the time of taking part in the freedom movement would be considered for the benefits.
Of late, a large number of cases have come to light where the applicants have claimed that they took part in the struggle at the age of 10 or 11.
In a bid to establish a connect between the freedom fighters and academic circles, the ministry has decided to approach the human resource development (HRD) ministry for establishing 10 chairs in central universities in the name of eminent freedom fighters.
Maken assured the committee that he would personally take up the issue with the HRD ministry.