The Union Cabinet approved the extension of the Rashtriya Swastya Bima Yojana (RSBY) where more than 47 lakh domestic workers in the country will now be entitled to health insurance cover. This medical insurance scheme contemplates cashless health insurance cover of up to Rs. 30,000 annually, based on a smart card, to workers who are below the poverty line, in any empanelled hospital in the country.
The RSBY will be extended to registered domestic workers, majority of them women, in the age group of 18-59. The National Social Security Fund will allocate the funds for the scheme. The Central and State governments will share the premium in the 75:25 ratio. In the case of the northeast region and Jammu & Kashmir, the ratio will be 90:10.
The estimated expenditure to be borne by the Centre will be Rs. 29.70 crores in 2011-12, Rs. 74.25 crores in 2012-13, Rs. 148.50 crores in 2012-14 and Rs. 297 crores in 2014-15.
In urban areas, domestic work is one of the largest sectors of female employment. This sector is unregulated and unprotected by labour laws. These workers come from vulnerable communities and backward areas and most of them are illiterate, unskilled and do not understand the urban labour market.
Identification certificates from any 2 of the 4 institutions — the employer, resident welfare associations, registered trade unions or the police would have to be obtained by the beneficiaries. A maximum of 5 members per family would be covered.
The RSBY is being implemented in 25 States and Union Territories. The scheme has since been extended to building and other construction workers, street vendors, beedi workers and those under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme who have worked for more than 15 days during the preceding year.