The government has decided to extend the medical insurance to the beedi workers of India, under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY).
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Union Labour Minister Malikarjun Kharge said, under this scheme, the beedi worker and his family (unit of five) will be covered and the total sum insured would Rs.30, 000.
"Smart cards will also be issued to the 50 lakh identified bidi workers across the country for health benefits under the scheme," he added.
He said, centre is also writing a letter to all the Chief Ministers to identify bidi workers and bring them into the scheme so that they can get the benefits of ESI Hospital facilities and notified despensaries and Hospitals.
The estimated expenditure to be borne by the Central Government is approximately Rs.311.25 crore . The annual premium is estimated at Rs.750 per annum of which 75 per cent would be as Central share and the State Government's share would be 25 per cent.
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 per cent 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 mainly in 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 have been formulated under the Beedi Workers Welfare Fund to extend health care, housing, educational, social security benefits to beedi workers and their family members.