No more cuts in Karunya Scheme benefits, says FM

The benefits of Karunya Benevolent Scheme, which provides a maximum financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh for treatment of  those afflicted with critical illnesses, will be sanctioned in full, irrespective of any financial aid availed from other schemes such as the centrally-sponsored CHISS medical scheme.

Making the important announcement, Finance Minister K M Mani said that the current practice of deducting any amount drawn from other schemes while releasing the Karunya fund to a beneficiary, stands scrapped.

An insurance scheme will also be added to the Karunya scheme to provide more succour to beneficiaries, Mani said. In addition, the ambit of the Karunya scheme has been widened and treatment of mental illnesses has also been included in the list of  diseases for which financial aid will be sanctioned.  The treatments of ‘sickle cell anaemia’ and ‘thalassemia’ have also been included in the list. “The three diseases will be in addition to the eight critical diseases already covered under the Karunya scheme,” Mani said, adding that the scheme will be redrawn to provide assistance for prolonged treatment also. Those having a annual family income of `3 lakh per annum are entitled to enrol in the Karunya scheme.

The scope of providing free low-cost housing for the poor using a combination of  the Karunya fund and contributions of  voluntary agencies and NGOs is also being looked into, Mani said at a news conference after summing up a workshop held here on Thursday.

The workshop was organised by Kesari Memorial Journalists Trust with the objective of widening the scope of the Karunya scheme, in association with the State Lotteries Department.

Mani said that the work on dialysis units comprising 10 machines each at 27 taluk hospitals in the state, announced under the Karunya scheme, is progressing at a fast pace. In addition to it, dialysis units of  the same size will be installed in two private hospitals at the taluk level, which will be categorised as government accredited.  Since the commencement of the Karunya scheme on April 14, 2012, financial support was given to 10,300 needy patients with critical illnesses, the minister said.
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