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Indian Express
28 June 2010
By Maulshree Seth
Lucknow, India

Plan To Expand BPL Health Cover To Unorganised Sector
The Union Government is in the process of revamping the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yo jana (RSBM), which provides health insurance to BPL families, into another flagship scheme of the UPA by including a large section of the unorganised workforce in it.

Starting with the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), the government plans to bring under the scheme 10 categories of workers who may not necessarily be below the poverty line.

While work is going on in the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment to define modalities to include NREGS workers in the RSBM, a task force on domestic workers has already submitted its recommendations. A new task force has been formed to see how autorickshaw and taxi drivers, rickshaw pullers, ragpickers and street vendors can be brought under the scheme.

Headed by Anil Swarup, Director General of Labour Welfare in the Union Government, the task force has been given three months to submit a report. Swarup said the task force is getting recommenda tions from different quarters.

At present, the RSBY offers healthcare benefits up to Rs 30,000 a year to those in BPL list. They can also get treatment in private hospitals accredited under the scheme. The beneficiaries have to pay just Rs 30 as registration charges, while the premium is paid by Central and state governments.

Since every beneficiary gets a biometric card, this will also give a permanent identity to unorganised workers brought under the scheme.

Sources said that it had been decided that the benefit of health insurance would be extended to Above Poverty Line NREGS workers on the same lines as to BPL families.

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