Govt to launch smart cards for unorganized workers

11 Feb 2016 | By Gaurav

The government will soon launch a smart card scheme for over 40 crore unorganised workers in the country to provide them various social security benefits including insurance and pension.

Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya made the announcemnet at the launch of Global Network Operations Centre of EPFO in New Delhi.

He added that the process of issuing cards would take at least two years time.

In context: Organizing the unorganized workforce

Origins Unorganised Workers' Social Security Act, 2008

The Unorganised Workers' Social Security Act was enacted in 2008, to provide social security and welfare for India's unorganized labor force which constitutes 93% of the country's total workforce.

Under the act, smart identity cards would be provided by the district administration to give workers access to social security schemes provided by the Centre.

These schemes include life insurance, pension, health and maternity benefits.

Failure Act fails to contain OOP expenses

After the Unorganized Workers Social Security Act was enacted, the government realized that a significant percentage of health expenses were paid as out of pocket (OOP) expenses.

This was seen to be inefficient and a less accountable way of spending on health as claims could not always be verified.

To counter this, the government launched the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana in 2008.

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What is the RSBY?

RSBY What is the RSBY?

The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana is a health insurance scheme for below poverty line families.

Under the scheme, a smart card would be provided to enable users to access the scheme's benefits, including free health care in hospitals registered with RSBY.

Introduced in 2008 to cover only BPL families, by 2015 it was expanded to include construction workers, street vendors, drivers, miners etc.

Several welfare schemes, no common link

The Government of India has enacted several welfare schemes for the unorganized labor sector including Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), Atal Pension Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana. However, availing benefits of these schemes has proven complicated as they are under different administrative authorities.

11 Feb 2016Govt to launch smart cards for unorganized workers

Details How will the smart card work?

The card will be called the UWIN (Unorganised Workers' Identification Number) card.

It will be a chip-based instrument that would hold all personal details of individuals including bank account number, aadhaar number etc.

It seeks to provide social security to workers under all central schemes including Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), Atal Pension Yojana, Aam Admi Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana.