ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Too Little, Too Late

Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana in Maharashtra

While the union government announced its plan to extend the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana to the unorganised working class poor like rickshaw-pullers, ragpickers, mineworkers, sanitation workers, etc, the Government of Maharashtra has decided to scrap RSBY and replace it with the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Arogya Yojana. This article analyses the conditions of waste pickers and argues not to pit one type of healthcare against another and not to scrap schemes like the RSBY that have come anyway too late.

On 4 June 2013, the union cabinet approved the extension of the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) to rickshaw-pullers, ragpickers (waste pickers), mineworkers, sanitation workers, autorickshaw drivers and taxi drivers. It was hoped that this would facilitate health insurance cover to these sections of the workforce.1

RSBY is a health insurance scheme that is implemented by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of Maharashtra. The scheme provides for smart card-based cashless health insurance cover of Rs 30,000 per annum to below the poverty line (BPL) families (a unit of five persons) in the unorganised sector. The scheme became operational from 1 April 2008 and is implemented in 25 of the 28 states and seven union territories. This could be termed as the first serious effort at health insurance for informal workers and those living below the poverty line.

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