Countries the world over want to emulate Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna
NEW DELHI: India’s health insurance plan for the poor is all set to go global. Impressed by Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY), a cashless, paperless health insurance scheme for those below poverty line (BPL) in India, the world community now wants to emulate this social security network.
Venezuela, Georgia, Chile, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan want to emulate RSBY after Indian officials made an impressive presentation of the “path-breaking” trend at the World Bank’s annual development forum meeting in Washington.
European countries too were looking at the scheme. They were more impressed by its cashless aspect.
Under the scheme, beneficiaries are issued a bio-metric Smart Card for cashless transaction of up to Rs30,000 and they don’t have to pay anything while seeking medical treatment. The Smart Card carries a unique identification number, which makes the person eligible for life and disability cover, health benefits, old age protection or any other benefit decided by the government. About 5 lakh cards have been issued in 16 states so far and over 1,500 have benefited from the scheme.
The session on “innovative ideas” under which India was invited to share its prized scheme with other nations was attended by experts from the World Bank, International Labour Organisation (ILO) and academicians from institutions like London School of Economics.
The World Bank felt that “the design and implementation of RSBY would be of great interest for a session on expanding social protection coverage.”
“Several experiments on health insurance schemes have failed in the past. Representatives from all over the world wanted to know how this scheme is running successfully. The biometric card involves no monetary transactions and is electronically monitored,” said director-general of labour welfare in the ministry of labour, Anil Swaroop, who made the presentation in Washington. Spread over the next five years, the scheme will cover over 1.2 crore people living below poverty line.
England had been working on a similar concept for higher education but could not come up with a workable model. LSE’s Prof Nichals Barr called RSBY’s progress “magical.”
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced RSBY last year and it was launched on October 1, 2007. The scheme has got wide attention and was recently reported in the Wall Street Journal.
6 months ago