Hyderabad: The government has taken several steps for the welfare of journalists, including providing accreditations, health cards for free treatment at super-specialty hospitals, set up a Rs 100-crore journalists welfare fund and various other programmes, that are being implemented by the Telangana State Media Academy, IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao informed the Assembly on Saturday.
Rama Rao was replying on behalf of Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao who holds the Information & Public Relations portfolio, to some points raised by former journalist and first time MLA Ch Kranti Kiran. The Minister said the Chief Minister and the TRS government hold journalists in high regard in terms of their professional duties as well as for the role they played during the statehood movement.
So far, 16,868 journalists have been given accreditation cards and Telangana was the first State to issue health cards benefiting a total of 52,992 persons including eligible members of families of journalists. As many as 2,500 families of journalists who passed away while on duty were given an assistance of Rs one lakh each while Rs 43 lakh was provided for 52 others who suffered from serious illnesses, he said.
In addition, 225 dependents of journalists are being provided with Rs 3,000 as pension and an amount of Rs 7,61,100 was provided as tuition assistance. A total of Rs 4.22 crore was spent on such programmes from the welfare fund, he said.
Earlier, Kranthi Kiran requested that the government take steps to provide housing sites for journalists. Though it is difficult to make out from just looking at them, most journalists struggle in their daily lives and do not have homes of their own, he said. While through individual efforts of some Ministers and MLAs, house sites were provided to some journalists in some districts, in many other places, including Hyderabad, this process did not happen so far.
When Rama Rao listed the districts in which these initiatives were launched and omitted Banswada constituency, Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy reminded the Minister similar action was taken in his constituency too, prompting Rama Rao to correct himself.