In­sured by com­mu­nity

Death of a tribal woman in Mad­hya Pradesh prompts com­mu­nity to pro­vide speedy in­sur­ance benefits to women dur­ing emer­gen­cies

Down to Earth - - GOOD NEWS - JI­TEN­DRA |

Ga woman from the Gond ONI BAI, tribe in Mad­hya Pradesh, be­came a widow last year. Her 35-year-old hus­band, Lakhan, died of an un­known ill­ness.The fam­ily was al­ready in debt and Lakhan’s sud­den death came as a blow to his wife as she had no means to re­pay the med­i­cal ar­rears. It was in this time of cri­sis that a com­mu­nity-run in­sur­ance pro­gramme came to her res­cue.

The co­op­er­a­tive ef­fort is an ini­tia­tive of nearly 7,500 women from vil­lages across Panna dis­trict in the state. Most of them are mem­bers of var­i­ous self-help groups (shgs), although a non-shg mem­ber can also be a part of this ini­tia­tive. The project, which started in­for­mally in 2011, pro­vides in­sur­ance of 15,000 on sub­mis­sion of an an­nual

` pre­mium of 300. In Novem­ber 2013, the

` women reg­is­tered un­der the non-profit, Sak­sham Mahila Sa­mu­day Kalyan Man­dal (lit­er­ally,com­mu­nity wel­fare fund of ca­pa­ble women),which lends money to its mem­bers to meet emer­gency ex­penses.

Goni Bai was en­ti­tled to the ben­e­fit as her ail­ing mother-in-law is an shg mem­ber. She got 5,000 the day her hus­band died and

` re­ceived the re­main­ing amount in 10 days. She used the money to set­tle her debt and pay the med­i­cal ex­penses.

In the first two years,86 in­sur­ance claims were set­tled un­der this project.Although the in­sur­ance can be availed by both hus­band and wife for a pre­mium of 150 each, the ini­tia

` tive is aimed at em­pow­er­ing women.Thus,a widow can claim the money, but a wid­ower


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