**Govt provides financial support to kin of 67 journalists who lost lives to Covid-19**
**“The sole aim of journalism is service”**- Mahatma Gandhi
Over the past one and a half years, healthcare workers have left no stone unturned to serve the nation by saving lives, risking their own.
The police, army, and journalists followed a similar trail in imparting their duties and braving the invisible & seemingly invincible enemy from the forefront.
Journalism as a profession essentially demands courage to unravel the truth that somewhere, someone seeks to hide and to face the challenges that follow in the path. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, made the circumstances all the more grueling. The govt on Thursday approved extending of financial assistance to the families of 67 journalists who lost their lives to the Covid-19 pandemic.
**Relief package under the Journalist Welfare Scheme of the I&B Ministry**:
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and the Press Information Bureau (PIB) under the guidance of the Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar compiled and collated the details of journalists who lost their lives due to the pandemic between 2020-21.
In a suo-moto move, the govt started a special drive to provide financial assistance to the families of journalists under the Journalist Welfare Scheme (JSW). Thus, under the proposal of the JSW Committee headed by Amit Khare, Secretary, Ministry of I&B, the financial relief of Rs.5 lakh will be provided to all the families of journalists who died due to Covid-19. The Central Government extended assistance to 41 families of journalists in the financial year 2020-21 and this no has now reached 67.
**What is Journalist Welfare Scheme?**
The Journalist Welfare Scheme is an endeavor of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that came into effect on 28th March 2018 to provide support to journalists and their families.
Under the scheme, any journalist as defined under the Working Journalist’s Act engaged in print, electronic, TV, Radio, editing, reporting, photography, full-time or part-time, or freelance is entitled to ex-gratia relief on an urgent basis by the Government of India.
**Weekly JWS meetings to process & review applications**:
The Journalist Welfare Scheme Committee has decided to hold weekly JWS meetings so that the applications for financial assistance under the scheme can be processed efficiently.
The JSW Committee, yesterday also considered the applications of about 11 families of journalists who passed away due to reasons other than the Covid-19.
The JWS meeting was attended by members including the Principal Director General of PIB, Jaideep Bhatnagar, and the Joint Secretary of the Ministry of I&B, Vikram Sahay. Journalist representatives of the Committee: Santosh Thakur, Amit Kumar, Umeshwar Kumar, Sarjana Sharma were also present in the meeting.
**How to apply?**
The Press Information Bureau has pro-actively reached out to the families of many journalists who lost their lives to Covid-19 and guided them about the scheme and on the filing of claims.
The Journalists and their families can apply for assistance under the Journalist Welfare Scheme (JWS) through the PIB website at https://accreditation.pib.gov.in/jws/default.aspx.