As the festive fervor builds up for the Dahi Handi celebrations on September 7 this year, more than 77,000 Govindas have already secured their medical insurance through the Maharashtra government. According to data from the insurance company, there has been an impressive 112 per cent increase in the number of Govindas availing medical insurance this year. In 2022, the Maharashtra government classified Dahi Handi as an adventurous sport.
Sachin Khanvilkar, spokesperson of Oriental Insurance Company, said, “Last year, 36,745 Govindas and 730 Govinda Pathaks applied for medical insurance, whereas this year, the numbers have surged to 77,820 Govindas and 1,025 Govinda Pathaks.”
Speaking about the increase in the number of govindas getting insured, Arun Patil, president of the Dahi Handi Utsav Samanway Samiti (DHUSS), and coach of Mazgaon Govinda Pathak, said, “The number of youngsters joining govinda pathaks has increased after the state government classified Dahi Handi as an adventurous sport. We are getting a good response from the people who want to join in different govinda pathaks across the state. This year, besides the city pathaks, we have also made efforts to reach out to pathaks from Raigad, Rajapur, and Ratnagiri areas as well to ensure that all Govindas are medically insured before the festival.”
With over 77,000 Govindas insured by September 4, the association aims to cross the one lakh mark before the festival. Patil further said, “There are over 20,000 to 25,000 Govindas whose insurance is still pending, but we will soon complete their insurance processes. We have also been in discussions with the state government to secure additional funds for insurance coverage.”
The premium for medical insurance for one Govinda is set at Rs 75. Initially, the state government allocated approximately Rs 37.5 lakhs to cover the insurance premiums for Govindas. However, as the number of participants increased, there was a need for additional funds to cover the insurance costs, prompting the association to request more funding from the state government. Subsequently, funds were released in three installments to ensure that all Govindas in Maharashtra could be insured.