New Delhi: The smart card based cashless health insurance â€˜Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana' (RSBY) for Below Poverty Line (BPL) is scheduled to be operationalised from tomorrow.
Formally launched onÂ October 1,Â last yearÂ the scheme envisages to provide Rs 30,000 to all the BPL families in the unorganised sector in the next five years under the Health Insurance Scheme.
According to the Ministry of Labour and Employment, it would operate through cashless transactions and would cover hospitalisation expenses, taking care of most of the illnesses with as least exclusions as possible.
An estimated six crore BPL workers in all 600 districts in the country at one lakh workers per district would be covered at 120 district per year starting from this financial year.
The central government has already issued guidelines and a draft tender document has been prepared and sent to all the states.
The draft contract agreement, to be signed between the insurance companies and respective state governments, has also been finalised and circulated.
Medical procedures and their costs have been standardised by a group of experts, besides the draft MoU between centre and the states has also been finalised.
On the IT front, guidelines for smart card hardware and the operating software as also the software for issuing smart card have been finalised and released, the Ministry added.
Similarly, the specifications for smart card handling devices have been finalised with the assistance from the World Bank. For security against issuance of duplicate and fake RSBY smart cards, the National Informatics Centre (NIC) has developed a Key Management System (KMS).
The Ministry further informed that a certification system has been put in place for software to be used and preparations are underway for a back-end data base management.
All these tasks are highly technical in nature and time consuming but these are imperative for smart card operation, the Ministry said and added that when fully operational, these would make the scheme paperless.
An initial allocation of Rs 250 crore has been made in the budget 2008-09. The Centre would contribute 75 per cent of the annual premium whereas the states would be contributing the remaining 25 per cent.
The scheme also envisages the setting up of a Technical Cell to be set up by the central government to assist the states in preparation of projects and monitor and evaluate the implementation of the project.
The states would put in place an institution for implementing the Health Insurance Programme, the Ministry added.
The use of smart card, making the scheme truly cashless, will also provide interoperability to facilitate use by migrant labour and use of IT applications on such a large scale for the poorest of the poor make this scheme unique in nature.
The scheme would use both public and private service providers for delivering the insurance package. It would also seek the contribution of Rs 30, by way of registration fee, from the BPL beneficiary with a view to inculcating a sense of ownership in them.
Fifteen states including Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Bihar, Uttrakhand, Kerala, Punjab, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and West Bengal have advertised.
States of Orissa and Himachal Pradesh are likely to advertise very soon, while all states, except the states in the North-East and J&K, have formally communicated their â€˜in-principle' approval.
Smart Cards have started rolling out in the states of Haryana and Rajasthan and are likely to roll out in NCT of Delhi from April 1, 2008.
Districts of Yamunanagar in Haryana and Jhalawar in Rajasthan are the first two districts where such cards are being issued.
Remaining three districts of Haryana and seven of Rajasthan, along with nine districts of Delhi will commence rolling out in the following months. So far, more than 5000 smart cards have been issued, the Ministry stated.
The Ministry further added that the enrolment software has, by and large, stabilised but the real challenge would be the operation of transaction software which will be used in the hospitals.
A bigger challenge would be the back-end data base management which would ultimately make the scheme paperless, the Ministry said and added that this is a long-term exercise which will take a few months.