Govt to spend Rs 311 cr on beedi workers

Union ministers Mallikarjun Kharge, Ambika Soni and Beni Prasad Verma after a Cabinet meeting in New Delhi on  Thursday. PTI

A meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh decided that each beedi worker and his family (unit of five) would be covered by the RSBY and the total sum insured would be Rs 30,000.

A study by Voluntary Health Association of India in 2008 reported that 75 per cent of beedi workers in the country faced multiple illnesses—like tuberculosis, chronic bronchitis, asthma, skin diseases and spinal problems—due to continuous and prolonged exposure to tobacco and other hazardous substances.

Union Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge said the Centre was keen to cover 10 lakh beedi workers in the current financial year and had plans to cover all by 2013-14. The annual premium is estimated at Rs 750 per annum of which 75 per cent would be  Central share and the state government’s share would be 25 per cent.

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