The Centre on Thursday approved a proposal to provide financial assistance to families of 26 more journalists who lost their lives to COVID-19.
According to a statement from the government, dependents of each of these journalists will get the financial relief of Rs 5 lakh under the Journalist Welfare Scheme (JWS) of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B).
"Today, the central government approved a proposal of the Journalist Welfare Scheme committee, headed by I&B ministry secretary Amit Khare, to provide financial relief of Rs 5 lakh to each of the families of 26 journalists who died due to COVID-19," the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) said.
The committee also considered the applications of families of 11 journalists who had passed away due to reasons other than the infection, it said.
The committee has decided to hold meetings on a weekly basis so that applications for financial assistance under the JWS can be processed "expeditiously," the ministry added.
Principal Director General of the Press Information Bureau (PIB), Jaideep Bhatnagar and other members of the JWS were present at the meeting. With the approval of financial relief to families of 26 journalists who died of COVID-19, the total number of beneficiaries reached 67.
"In the financial year 2020-21, the central government provided such assistance to families of 41 journalists who lost their lives to COVID-19," the ministry said.
"The PIB, an arm of the I&B ministry, pro-actively reached out to the families of many journalists who lost their lives to COVID-19, and also guided them about the scheme and filing of claims," it said.
In a suo-motu move, the I&B ministry and the PIB under the guidance of I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar had compiled and collated the details of the journalists who lost their lives to Covid in 2020 and this year, and started a special drive to provide assistance to their families under the JWS scheme, the ministry said.
Journalists and their families can apply for financial assistance under the JWS scheme through the PIB website, the ministry added.