Union Minister for Labour and Employment Mallikarjun Kharge has said the Centre had a proposal to include the beneficiaries of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) under Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), the health insurance scheme for the unorganised sector workers.

Chairing the first meeting of the National Social Security Board constituted under the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008, here on Wednesday, Mr. Kharge said the RSBY currently covered workers from five sectors, and that the government had asked the States to extend the scheme to those in construction and building industries too.

The RSBY, introduced in 2007, provides for smart card-based, cashless health insurance to the below poverty line (BPL) families. The scheme covers all pre-existing diseases and provides maternity benefit. More than 60 lakh biometric smart cards had already been issued. “We hope to cover the entire 6 crore BPL families in five years,” he said.

Mr. Kharge said the government also had plans to extend the RSBY to above poverty line (APL) workers involved in a few segments of the unorganised employment.

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