Beedi workers will soon get medical insurance benefits
About 55 lakh beedi workers will soon get medical insurance benefits under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) by 2013-14 under a proposal approved by the Union Cabinet.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, decided to extend the insurance cover to the beedi workers spread across the country, with the government spending an estimated Rs 311.25 crore on it.
Under the scheme, the worker and his family of five would benefit with a medical insurance cover of Rs 30,000.
Any claim beyond this amount would be reimbursed directly by the Welfare Commissioner to the concerned hospital through existing procedures.
Smart cards would be issued for availing benefits under the scheme, all beedi workers would be brought under the net of the RSBY to get cashless benefits in any of the ESI or empanelled hospital throughout the country.
An estimated 55 lakh beedi workers are spread across several states, primarily West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.
So far 49.80 lakh beedi workers have been provided with identity cards.
At present, the health needs of these beedi workers are being met through 204 dispensaries and only seven hospitals.
The beedi industry is primarily a home-based labour intensive industry.
The Beedi Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1976 has been enacted to provide for financing of measures to promote the welfare of beedi workers.