Published on Jobs and Development

Using Smart Cards for Health Insurance for India's Poorest

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Anil Swarup is Director of General at the Ministry of Labour & Employment in India.

In 2008, India launched an innovative health insurance program — known as Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, or the National Health Insurance Scheme. The objective is to protect the poorest households from financial liabilities that arise out of health shocks that involve hospitalization.

 An infant receives a medical checkup, India. Photo: Ray Witlin / World Bank

We recently spoke with Anil Swarup, Director General in the Ministry of Labour & Employment. He stresses that for the first time information technology applications — notably biometric enabled Smart Cards — are being used to empower the poor, giving them the option to choose between public and private hospitals. So far, 33 million of the 60 million poorest households are being covered, he says. Moreover, the scheme shows that today's technology is mature enough to be leveraged not only for delivering healthcare in a transparent manner but also other social security schemes (such as subsidized food grains).

This post was first published on the Jobs Knowledge Platform.


Anil Swarup

Ministry of Labour & Employment, India

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