Chief minister Ashok Gehlot launched the Rajasthan Silicosis Policy-2019 under which those suffering from silicosis, a lung disease, will be treated at par with differently abled persons and will get a monthly pension of up to Rs 1,250. Additionally, in the event of a silicosis patient dying, his widow will get all the social security benefits from the state government, including a monthly pension of up to Rs 1500. Rajasthan became the first state to launch such a policy (TOI).
The policy will also focus on prevention and control of the disease. The government said that people living within a two-km radius of a stone crusher will also be covered under the scheme.
As per official data, over 1,600 people have died of silicosis in Rajasthan since 2011 when the government started identifying patients afflicted with the dreaded disease. The total number of silicosis patients in the state is estimated at 11,000. Mining and mineral processing industry is a major employer in 19 out of 33 districts in Rajasthan. However, mining workers run the risk of getting afflicted by silicosis by breathing in dust containing silica.