31 March, 2008
The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, which was formally launched on the 1st of October last year, is scheduled to begin operation tomorrow. The smart card scheme was created to provide smart card based cashless health insurance coverage upto Rs.30,000 for all the BPL families in the unorganized sector for the next five years.
The Central Government of India has already issued guidelines and a draft tender document has been prepared and sent to all the states. The draft contract agreement, to be signed between the insurance companies and respective state governments, has also been finalized and circulated. Medical procedures and their costs have been standardized by a group of experts.
On the IT front, guidelines for smart card hardware and the operating software as also been finalized and released. Similarly, the specifications for smart card handling devices has been finalized with the assistance of the World Bank. For security against issuance of duplicate/fake RSBY smart cards, the NIC has developed a Key Management System. A certification system has been put in place for software to be used. Preparations are underway for a back-end data base management. All these tasks are highly technical in nature and time consuming but these are imperative for smart card operation. When fully operational, they would make the scheme paperless.
The use of smart card, making the scheme truly cashless, as also providing interoperability to facilitate use by migrant labor and use of IT applications on such a large scale for the poorest of the poor make this scheme unique in nature. The scheme would use both public and private service providers for delivering the insurance package.
Smart Cards have started rolling out in the states of Haryana and Rajasthan and are likely to roll out in NCT of Delhi after April 1. Districts of Yamunanagar in Haryana and Jhalawar in Rajasthan were the first two districts to issue the cards. The remaining three districts of Haryana and seven of Rajasthan, along with nine districts of Delhi will commence rolling out in the following months. So far, more than 5000 smart cards have been issued.
The Enrolment software has, by and large, stabilized but the real challenge is going to be the operation of transaction software, which will be used in the hospitals. The specifications for transaction software have been approved and released. A certification system has also been put in place.