The labour ministry’s Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) is set to be transferred to the health ministry as part of the proposed National Health Assurance Mission (NHAM).“A decision has been taken by the Prime Minister’s Office to transfer the RSBY to the health ministry, which is in charge of rolling out the comprehensive health mission,” said two officials familiar with the development.
The NHAM is expected to provide healthcare facilities including 50 essential drugs, with a package of diagnostics and about 30 AYUSH (ayu-rveda, yoga, naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoepathy) drugs as well as insurance benefits to all citizens. “The NHAM plans to cover all aspects of health care including primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare. RSBY will be responsible for providing secondary health care benefits,” said one of the officials, adding that the new scheme is expected to be rolled out in the next six months. Started by the former UPA government in April 2008, the RSBY provides cashless health insurance of up to Rs 30,000 per year to below-poverty-line families through smart cards. It covers over three crore workers from the unorganised sector.
However, the decision from the PMO comes at a time when the labour ministry is set to unveil a revamped RSBY on Thursday as part of the Shrameva Jayate event.
The labour ministry has been working on a two-phase revamp of the RSBY to make it more transparent and accountable. This includes opening of banks accounts and issuance of Aadhaar cards along with the smart card, third-party audits and a call centre for grievances. The labour ministry is also planning to merge the RSBY with two similar insurance schemes — Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana, Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana and Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme to provide health insurance to unorganised sector workers.