Rich hijack Swasthya Bhima Yojana in C'magalur

Rich hijack Swasthya Bhima Yojana in C'magalur

Irked labourers stop smart card distribution at various places

The Swasthya Bhima Yojana, which was introduced with the aim of bringing BPL families and coolie workers under the insurance umbrella has unfortunately and surprisingly gone to plantation owners with more than 25, 50 and 100 acre land holding.

The estate workers and labourer classes for whom the scheme was actually brought out continue to struggle to get medical care.

It is learnt that the Rashtriya Swasthya Bhima Yojana has been hijacked by the rich mainly because of the fault committed ten years ago while identifying the beneficiaries for the scheme during the BPL family survey conducted in 2002. Based on this survey, the Scheme was introduced on pilot basis in five districts- Mysore, Belgaum, Dakshina Kannada, Shimoga and Bangalore with the plan that the Scheme would be introduced across the state based on the success of the scheme in these places. This year, the Scheme was spread to 30 districts and the responsibility of issuing the Smart Card was handed over to Labour Department. 

It is said that in 2002, when the officials came to conduct survey many rich families mislead the officials and thus became the beneficiaries of the Scheme thus keeping the genuine eligible beneficiaries out of reach of the scheme.

Coffee estate owners, those with large landholding, government employees and the daily wage workers have been looked at equally under the scheme, say most of the representatives of labour unions. Taking note of this injustice, at many places the labour class and pro-people organisations have not allowed the Labour Department officials to distribute smart cards. At Jodithimmanahalli of Kadur Taluk, the workers boycotted the labour officials while at Sunkasale, Javali, Balur, Koove, Banakal areas of Mudigere the people did not allow the labour officials to carry on with their work.

Karnataka Janashakti Sanghatane Convener Gaus Moiddin said that in Banakal Gram Panchayat limits an estate owner with land holding of 60 acres has a smart card. He said that such instances can be found in tens in almost every Gram Panchayat in the district.


In the district 1,09,819 smart cards were to be distributed. If the Lok Sabha by polls were not held then the distribution work would have been completed within three months. However, till April 56,000 cards were distributed and distribution is almost reaching its end this month. Due to opposition from labour unions, distribution could not be taken up in some Gram Panchayats, said Labour Department Assistant Commissioner A J Srivalli. She said that the main cause for the problem is the existing differences in the survey data itself. 

The Scheme 

Under the National Swastya Bhima Yojana, the beneficiary family can avail free medical care in specified hospitals by showing the biometric smart card. Five members of a family are covered under the scheme. In the district 710 government hospitals and private hospitals have been identified. Before using the card, there is a need to register the card at the specified hospital and activate the card.

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