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Rajasthan has announced the creation of a Pneumoconiosis Fund

  • Category
    Society
  • Published
    15th Oct, 2019

Rajasthan has announced the creation of a Pneumoconiosis Fund, which will be majorly financed by money from the District Mineral Foundation (DMF).

Context

Rajasthan has announced the creation of a Pneumoconiosis Fund, which will be majorly financed by money from the District Mineral Foundation (DMF).

About

Pneumoconiosis Fund:

  • The aim of the policy is to streamline the strategy to deal with pneumoconiosis.
  • The Fund will be operating under Social Justice and Empowerment Department.
  • It will include pension for patients and their families after the patient’s death and their inclusion in the state’s social security schemes, which will be over and above the compensation paid.
  • Rajasthan is one of the leading mining states of India, with a distinction of having more than 33,000 mine leases, the highest in the country. Most of these are sandstone mines and quarries.
  • It is also the state with a high prevalence of pneumoconiosis, including silicosis. According to data from the state silicosis portal, more than 55,000 cases of silicosis have been registered for medical verification across all of Rajasthan’s districts from 2016 till date.
  • According to a 2018 report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the number of deaths due to silicosis had increased in Rajasthan from 1 in 2013-14 to 235 in 2016-17.

Pneumoconiosis:

  • It is a lung disease which mostly affects workers who work in the mining and construction sectors and deal with soil, silica, coal dust and asbestos.
  • Many dusts can cause pneumoconiosis. The most common workplace mineral dusts that are known to cause pneumoconiosis are asbestos, silica (rock and sand dust), and coal dust.

DMF Funds:

  • Non-profit DMF trusts have been established in every mining district of India to “work for the interest and benefit of people and areas affected by mining related operations”
  • DMF will be one of the biggest components of the Pneumoconiosis Fund. It will also bring in convergence of other available funds such as Building and Other Construction Workers (BOCW) Welfare Fund, the state budget, and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
  • The state level fund has been created so that pneumoconiosis patients can be helped even in districts where DMF funds are not substantial.

Prevention and rehabilitation:

  • The policy recognizes prevention as a major focus because pneumoconiosis, once contracted, is a terminal illness.
  • For this, all mines and industries having dust hazards will be registered and notified as hazardous and brought under a tight regulatory framework to ensure protective equipment and dust suppression measures.
  • The policy also looks at a comprehensive patient rehabilitation and pension for patients and their families. It introduces pension for patients and after their passing, to their families irrespective of income criteria. It also calls for creating livelihood opportunities for silicosis patients and their kin.
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