The Cabinet today approved extension of medical facilities to beedi workers under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY). The beedi worker and his family (unit of five) will be covered and the total sum insured would Rs.30,000/-. The other benefits and procedures under the scheme will be the same as under RSBY. Any claims beyond Rs.30,000/- will be reimbursed directly by the related Welfare Commissioner to the concerned empanelled hospital through the existing procedure.
The estimated expenditure to be borne by the Central Government is approximately Rs.311.25 crore (this includes 75% of the premium and the cost of the smart cards). The annual premium is estimated at Rs.750 per annum of which 75% would be as Central share and the State Government’s share would be 25%.
The State Government will identify and register beedi workers. It is proposed to cover 10 lakh beedi worker in the current financial year and cover 100% of the total beedi workers by the year 2013-14.
At present, the health needs of these beedi workers are being met through 204 dispensaries and only 7 hospitals. The beedi industry is primarily a home based labour intensive industry which provides employment to about 55 lakh workers (out of which Identity Cards have been issued to 49.80 lakh beedi workers) mainly in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Triupra and West Bengal. The Beedi Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1976 has been enacted to provide for financing of measures to promote the welfare of beedi workers. Several welfare schemes ahve been formulated under the Beedi Workers Welfare Fund to extend Health care, Housing, Educational, Social Security benefits etc., to beedi workers and their family members.
The beedi worker is not in a position to spend money from his own pocket initially and get the reimbursement. As such, the existing health schemes do not serve the very purpose of proper health care. On the other hand, majority of the beedi workers do not fall under the BPL category. Hence, they are deprived of the benefits of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), presently implemented for BPL category only.
Keeping in view the Social Security to be provided for unorganised sector workers including beedi workers, it is proposed to bring all beedi workers under the net of RSBY, as a beneficiary of RSBY to get cashless benefit in any of the empanelled hospitals throughout India.