In a bid to provide insurance cover to families engaged in plucking and binding of kendu leaf, the Orissa government last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). This would enable the family members of kendu leaf pluckers to get compensation in case of death or invalidity of the latter.
Orissa Forest and Environment Minister Debi Prasad Mishra said about 7.8 lakh kendu leaf pluckers and 20,000 binders in 19 kendu leaf divisions will get insurance cover by October under Jana Shree Bima Yojana of LIC. The state government will contribute Rs 8 crore for the purpose.
The insurance scheme launched on Sunday covers at least 1,000 beneficiaries from Angul Kendu Leaf Division.
The premium amount of insurance has been fixed at Rs 200 per person per annum. While the state government would bear 50 per cent of the amount, the rest would be arranged from a central government fund. Eligibility for any beneficiary is between 18 and 59 years.
Kendu leaf trade has been one of the main economic activities of people in Orissaís hinterland.