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Rediff.com  » Business » Govt extends health insurance cover to poorer sections

Govt extends health insurance cover to poorer sections

June 05, 2013 16:41 IST

The government has decided to extend health insurance cover to sections such as rickshaw pullers, rag pickers, mine workers, sanitation workers, and auto rickshaw and taxi drivers.

This decision will cost the exchequer Rs 210 crore (Rs 2.10 billion) in the current financial year and Rs 420 crore from FY15 onwards.

The Cabinet on Tuesday approved a proposal for extending the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) scheme to these sections, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said here.

"The exact amount (that the government will bear) will be determined on the basis of persons identified and registered under these categories during each preceding year and actual premium rates," said Chidambaram.

RSBY provides cashless health insurance cover of Rs 30,000 a year to Below Poverty Line families (a unit of five persons) in the unorganised sector.

It already covers street vendors, beedi workers, domestic workers, building and other construction workers and the MGNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) workers who have worked more than 15 days during the previous year.

About 3.54 million autorickshaw drivers or taxi drivers, 1.37 million rickshaw pullers or drivers, 1.16 million rag pickers, 1.78 million mine workers and about 1 million sanitation workers will benefit from the extension of the scheme, an official statement said.

Redevelopment of Safdarjung Hospital

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Tuesday approved the Phase-I of redevelopment of SafdarjungHospital with an estimated cost of Rs 1,332 crore (Rs 13.32 billion). This includes Rs 165 crore (Rs 1.65 billion) towards expenses on operations for the first year.

The plan for redevelopment of Phase-I of the hospital includes a 807-bed super-speciality-cum-paid ward block and a 500-bed emergency block.

Revival of Nagaland Pulp & Paper Company Ltd

The CCEA also approved the proposal for revival of Nagaland Pulp & Paper Company Limited (NPPC) through infusion of funds of Rs 309.4 crore (Rs 3.09 billion).

The approval also includes regularisation of inter-se (between themselves) diversion of fund of Rs 54.6 crore (Rs 546 million), and increasing the authorised capital of NPPC from Rs 150 crore (Rs 1.5 billion) to Rs 250 crore (Rs 2.5 billion).

 National Power Training Institute

The Cabinet approved implementing AICTE 2010 norms with regard to pay scale and service conditions at National Power Training Institute.

 Disinvestment of Neyveli Lignite Corporation

The Cabinet deferred a decision on proposal to divest five per cent stake in Neyveli Lignite Corp to raise up to Rs 6,000 crore after Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The finance ministry had moved a proposal for sale of 78 million shares, or five per cent shares, through an offer for sale in the Tamil Nadu-based company.

"There is a letter from the CM of Tamil Nadu addressed to the Prime Minister and I think, the PM may consider first replying to that letter," said Chidambaram.

A disinvestment proposal of the company in the UPA-I government had evoked strong protest from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party, which ultimately resulted in the disinvestment process being put off.