Smriti Irani wants school and college teachers to promote the government’s newly launched insurance schemes.
The Union HRD minister has written to all chief ministers urging them to ask teachers to enrol themselves and people around them in schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY), Pradhan Mantri Jivan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and the Atal Pension Yojana (APY).
“The Teachers’ Day could be a great occasion to involve our esteemed teachers in enrolling not only themselves but also their family members and the members of the communities around them under these social security schemes,” the letter said.
A pamphlet in which the minister has directly appealed to teachers to get involved in the schemes is attached to the letter.
“You are part of a community that commands immense respect in society. You sow the seed of India’s bright future and mould generations to become good citizens. Thus I seek your support and participation in reaching out to people around you about these social security schemes and explain the benefits that come with the schemes,” the pamphlet said.
The PMSBY, with a premium of Rs 12 a year, provides for insurance coverage of Rs 2 lakh for individuals on death or disability. The PMJJBY gives life insurance coverage of Rs 2 lakh on a premium of Rs 330 per year. Under APY, a beneficiary has to make a monthly contribution for at least 20 years to be eligible for commensurate pension at the age of 60.
“I urge you to begin with your immediate family and neighbourhood. Please inspire the youth and community members to show the way forward as far as enrolment is concerned,” the pamphlet said.
Teachers’ associations have disapproved the government’s move on the ground that it would interfere with daily work.
Surajita Nayak, the vice-president of the Odisha Secondary School Teachers’ Association, said teachers in Odisha and other states were already involved in government work like census, updating electoral rolls and socio-economic surveys, as well as the mid-day meal scheme.
“The government’s expectation that teachers will be involved in implementation of insurance schemes is unacceptable. If teachers are forced to do such work, teaching activities will be affected in schools,” she said.
Asok Barman, the general secretary of the All India Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisations, said: “The schemes are good and should be implemented. But why are teachers being asked to do all this work?”