Srinagar, Oct 26 (PTI) The Jammu and Kashmir government today announced free insurance cover to its pensioners from next year.

The state’s Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu said pensioners are a nation’s treasure and the repository of its tradition and culture.

Keeping in view their contributions and hardships, the state government has decided that it will provide them free insurance cover from the next fiscal, he said.

The finance minister was speaking at a function in Budgam district where hundreds of members of the J-K Pensioners Welfare Association were present, an official spokesman said here.

Drabu said society has changed enormously, which also impacts the way senior citizens are treated in their day to day lives.

He said the new insurance scheme will cover all the state pensioners of Jammu and Kashmir.

The government’s endeavour is that all senior citizens should get insurance cover, whether they have been state government employees or not and it will hopefully move towards that end in the coming years, he added.

Earlier, the pensioners put forth a list of issues faced by them before the finance minister and sought his intervention.

Their demands included enhancement of medical allowances for pensioners from Rs 300 to Rs 2,000, decreasing commutation from 15 to 12 years, in toto implementation of Senior Citizens Act and fulfilment of demands put forth in pre-budget discussion in December 2016.

Other demands included separate department to deal with the issues of pensioners, hostels for them in every district headquarter, One Rank-One Pension policy for police personnel and low rate of interest on bank loans for pensioners.

The finance minister assured them that their genuine demands will be addressed in a proper time-frame, the spokesman said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.