University of Hyderabad PhD students protest against hike in insurance premium

A PhD scholars share how the hike in insurance premium will be an additional burden that they will have to bear  

The PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) scholars and students pursuing master's along with the Students' Federation of India (SFI) staged a protest today, September 20 at 2.30 pm in front of the administrative block of the University of Hyderabad.

Giving more details on this, one of the SFI members and a PhD student, on the condition of anonymity, said that the university has hiked the insurance premium amount from Rs 1,200 to Rs 2,100 from September 15, which is why they were protesting.

More than 100 students took part in the protest stating this hike in the insurance premium will be a burden for students. As the University of Hyderabad is a public-funded university, the student feels the university should waive the insurance premium charges. Giving more details about the medical facilities on campus, the student informed EdexLive, "Due to COVID, the Primary Health Centers (PHCs) are not providing basic facilities and from the last three years, the condition has worsened."

"Issues like dengue fever, normal fever, typhoid, stomach-related ailments and so on are not treated and the students are referred to hospitals outside that charge high amounts. Because of this, the insurance premium is hiked," the student claimed.  

What are the university officials saying?
When EdexLive spoke to the Registrar of the varsity, Dr Devesh Nigam and he said, "As the claimed amount is as high as 190 per cent, that's why the insurance premium was hiked. If this year, the claim ratio falls, then there are chances that the premium amount will be reduced."

In a reaction to the Registrar's statement, a PhD Chemistry scholar opines, "Once the benchmark of Rs 2,100 is set for insurance tenders, why will they consider reducing the premium charges?"

Moreover, the student points out that the claim ratio is dictated by the insurance companies and not by the university. The scholar claims that the university lacks the date and whereabouts of the claim ratio. Therefore, it is the demand of the students that the university disclose the data regarding the claim ratio.

What are the scholars saying?
The PhD chemistry scholar recalls, "From 2010, the time I joined the university, the insurance premium has always varied between Rs 1,100 to Rs 1,300. More or less, it was never more than Rs 1,300."

"Despite paying the initial amount of insurance premium at the time of semester registration, hiking the amount will result in students feeling burdened. Because students studying at this university come from marginalised and poor backgrounds, they intend to study at low costs," the scholar stressed.  

Further, the PhD student claims, "It is because of the pure mismanagement of the health centre which leads to hike in insurance premium. Because the doctors were directing the students to outside hospitals."

What now?
A group of students met the Vice-Chancellor, Registrar and the Dean of Student Welfare (DSW). The students shared that in the meeting, it was decided that a proper review will be conducted regarding the reasons for the insurance premium hike and actions will be taken to solve those issues.

Only after review will any circular be released regarding the issue. The students were also assured that they will not be burdened and won't have to pay the complete increased amount immediately.

When EdexLive tried to speak to Chief Medical Officer Dr Rajasree, there was no response. 

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