23 Sep :The Minister for State (Independent Charge) Shri Oscar Fernandeze has termed the extension of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY)as a unique scheme to attempt to empower the BPL families by giving them a choice of there hospitals.
Adressing media persons here today Shri Fernandeze said the smart card issued under this yojana are valid through out the country in any of the networked hospitals. It has always been the intension of his ministry to extend the social security measures to all segments of the society and with the gradual stabilization of RSBY and the technology, the Scheme now has been extended to Above Poverty Line (APL) building and other construction workers .
Expressing satisfaction on the implementation of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), the minister said during the last six months 18 states have advertised under the scheme. The Central Government has already granted approval to 15 proposals from the statesand the rest are in the pipeline. Of these, 8 States have already started distributing Smart Cards and more than 3.3 lakh smart cards have been issued. Accordingly, more than 16 lakh families have provided health insurance cover and around 1500 persons have availed hospitalisation facilities under the Scheme. He said the RSBY is a first ever attempt to use information technology tools on such a large scale and in rural areas.The back-end of the scheme may appear very complex but the front-end is extremely simple. Hence, there are no complexities for the beneficiaries as the Scheme is not only cashless but in due course it will become paperless as well. The minister said his ministry is of the view that the cess collected by the States under the Central legislation, ‘The Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Cess Act, 1996’, should be used for funding the premium under Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana. We have written to the State Governments in this regard and some States, like Haryana, have already initiated action by inviting quotes for the premium under the Scheme, he added.
As per the survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) during 2004-05, about 2.6 crore workers are engaged in building and other construction activities. The building and other construction workers are one of the most numerous and vulnerable segments of the unorganized workers in India. The work is characterized by its casual nature, temporary relationship between employer and employee, uncertain working hours, lack of basic amenities and inadequacy of welfare and health care facilities. He said to safeguard the interests of the workers, the Government enacted the Building & Other Construction Workers (RE&CS) Act, 1996 and Building & Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996. Under the Act, State level Welfare Boards are constituted to implement welfare schemes for the workers registered with the Board. The welfare schemes, inter-alia, include immediate assistance to the beneficiary in case of accident, group insurance, pension, medical expenses for treatment etc.
One of the major insecurities for workers in the unorganized sector is the frequent incidences of illness and need for medical care and hospitalization of unorganized workers including building and construction workers and their family members. With a view to providing cashless health insurance cover of Rs. 30,000 on hospitalization and certain day care procedures, to BPL families ( a unit of five), the Government launched the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY). The scheme is being implemented by the State Governments through insurance company. The premium is shared by the Centre and State in the ration of 75:25 and 90:10 in case of States in the north eastern region and J&K. More than 3.35 lakh smart cards providing health insurance cover to more than 16.7 lakh BPL families, have been issued and more than 1400 beneficiaries have availed the benefits.
With the gradual stabilization of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and the smart card technology involved therein, the Central Government propose to allow the extension of the processes and technology under RSBY to such building and other construction workers as are Above Poverty Line (APL) and not covered under the ongoing scheme which is so far available only to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families.
Benefits under the scheme shall be the same as are under ongoing RSBY for below poverty line workers. Thus, the following benefits will be available to the beneficiaries:
The worker and his family (a unit of five) will be covered. Total sum insured would be Rs. 30,000/- per family per annum on a family floater basis; Cashless attendance to all covered ailments; Hospitalization expenses, taking care of most common illnesses with as few exclusions as possible; All pre-existing diseases to be covered and Transportation costs (actual with maximum limit of Rs. 100 per visit) within an overall limit of Rs.1000.
All building and other construction workers that are registered under the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996, shall be eligible for the scheme on payment of Rs.30 as registration / renewal fee at the time of issuance of smart card.The premium for the scheme shall be paid from the funds collected by the Welfare Boards constituted under the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996. A large number of States are already collecting cess pursuant to the provision made under the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996.
The minister said the operation of the scheme will take place through the State Nodal Agency already set up under the ongoing RSBY scheme. The process for selecting an insurance company will be the same as under the existing scheme. If tenders have already been called under the ongoing scheme and granted approval by the Central Government, the same premium rate could be extended to the building and other construction workers as well. However, if tenders are yet to be invited, this category of workers can be added to the Tender Document. The State Welfare Board shall provide the premium amount to the State Nodal Agency. In such States where RSBY is not in operation, the State Welfare Boards shall perform the role of State Nodal Agency. The validated data relating to building and other construction workers shall be provided by the State Welfare Board in the prescribed soft and hard format to the State Nodal Agency. The State Nodal Agency will keep two separate sets of data; one relating to the BPL workers under RSBY and the other relating to building and other construction workers.
Shri Fernandeze disclosed that the amount of Rs.30 collected from the beneficiary will be retained by the State Nodal Agency for administrative expenses. Representatives of State Welfare Boards will be the Field Key Officers under this extended scheme. The District Key Management Authority (DKMA) will be the one already appointed under RSBY. However, if RSBY is not in operation in the State, the Board shall appoint the DKMA, the minister added.