Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Labour & Employment
10-December-2010 18:24 IST
The Consultative Committee Attached to the Ministry of Labour & Employment Considers Various Issues Relating to Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana in its Meeting


The Consultative Committee attached to the Ministry of Labour & Employment held its meeting on 8.12.2010 in Parliament House Annexe New Delhi. Welcoming  the members to the meeting of the Consultative Committee to consider various issues relating to Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, Shri Mallikarjun Kharge Minister of Labour & Employment said that the major insecurities for the workers in the unorganised sector is the frequent incidences of illness and need for medical care and hospitalisation of such workers and their family members.  To address these basic necessities of this vulnerable section of society, the Central Government launched Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) in October 2007. The scheme became operational from April 2008.

Shri Mallikarjun Kharge informed the members that the RSBY envisages smart card based cashless health insurance cover of Rs. 30,000 to a BPL family of five for meeting hospitalization expenses. It takes care of most of the illnesses including maternity benefit. The new born is also covered for remaining policy period.

RSBY is a unique scheme which empowers the poor to get treatment from any public or private hospital empanelled under RSBY throughout the country through the smart card. There is no age limit as such senior citizens are also covered. Under the RSBY, the smart cards are prepared and delivered to the beneficiary on the spot in the village itself.  There is provision of issue of split card enabling him to get one additional card which he can carry along with him to his workplace. 

As a result of continuous efforts and hard work put in rolling out this scheme both by Central and State Governments, the benefits have started accruing to the poor. 25 States, including Union Territories have started issuing smart cards. I am glad to inform the Hon’ble Members that  more than two crore smart cards have been issued so far extending health insurance cover to about eight crore persons.  More than 10 lakh persons have already taken benefit under the scheme.

The scheme has come in for appreciation within the country and has also been acclaimed internationally. It has been nominated for an award by the ILO by way of publication as one of the social protection floor success stories around the world.

However, what we have done so far is just a beginning and still has a very long way to go. The benefits under the scheme have also been extended to certain segments of unorganised workers also who are above poverty line (APL). We have already extended the scheme to Building and Other Construction Workers and street vendors.

In the Budget for the year 2010-11, the Government has announced to extend benefits of RSBY to all such MNREGA beneficiaries who have worked for more than 15 days during the preceding financial year and to all licensed railway porters, vendors and hawkers, who are from the unorganised sector and are socially challenged.

The Director General, Labour Welfare Shri Anil Swarup making a Presentation on the scheme informed the members that the workers in the unorganized sector constitute about 94% of the total work force in the country. One of the major insecurities for workers in the unorganized sector is absence of health cover for such workers and their family members. Insecurity relating to absence of health cover, heavy expenditure on medical care and hospitalization and recourse to inadequate and incompetent treatment is not only a social and psychological burden borne by these workers but there are significant economic costs resulting from loss of earning and progressive deterioration of health. Thus, with a view to providing health insurance cover to Below Poverty Line (BPL) workers in the unorganised sector and their families, the Central Government has announced the "Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana".

Features of the Scheme include:

• Smart card based cashless health insurance cover of Rs. 30,000 for a family of five on family floater basis.

• All pre-existing diseases are covered.

·                     Hospitalization expenses, taking care of most of the illnesses including maternity benefit.

• Coverage of certain day-care procedures.

• Transportation cost of Rs. 100/- per visit with an overall limit of Rs. 1,000/- per annum within the limit of Rs. 30000/-.

• Projects are prepared by the State Governments and submitted for approval of the Inter-Ministerial Approval and Monitoring Committee constituted by the Central Government.

Other unique features are:

a) The use of smart card, making the scheme truly cashless as also providing interoperability to facilitate use by migrant labour.

b) Use of IT applications on such a large scale for the poorest of the poor.

c) Using both public and private service providers for delivering the insurance package.

d) Evolving a business model which could make the scheme sustainable in the long run.

e) Seeking contribution for the first time, by way of Registration fee, from the BPL beneficiary with a view to inculcating a sense of ownership in them.

f) No age limit has been prescribed. Hence, senior citizens are also covered.


Till 30.11.2010, 27 States/ Union Territories have initiated the process to implement the scheme. Out of these, 25 States/Union Territories, namely, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab, Tamilnadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and Chandigarh Administration have started issuing smart cards. More than 2.18 crore smart cards have been issued as on 30.11.2010. Remaining States except Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan which have their own health insurance schemes are in the process of implementation of the scheme. The beneficiaries can avail the benefits under the scheme in any empanelled hospital (public or private) throughout the country. To ensure that the card is not misused, the biometric data of beneficiaries is stored in the smart card. When a beneficiary visits the hospital, his finger print is matched through biometric devices installed in the hospital before the patient is admitted for treatment. Similarly, to ensure that only authorized person records the transactions in the hospital, Hospital Authority Cards are issued to the hospital staff who has been assigned the task. As on 30.11.2010, 7190 hospitals (2271 public & 4919 private) have been empanelled under the scheme and more than 10 lakh beneficiaries have visited the hospitals to avail the benefits.