íTechnical problems led to delay in issuing BPL smart cardsí

For at least six months now, below poverty line (BPL) families of nine districts of the state have been without the health insurance coverage provided under Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY). The process of rolling out of the RSBY smart cards in these districts is expected to begin in January 2013.

In a press conference at Lucknow, the RSBY Chief Executive Officer and Secretary to Chief Minister, Alok Kumar, said that the reason for delay in giving out cards in these districts was due to various procedural hitches pertaining upgrade of the smart card memory space from 32 kb to 64 kb.

A Centre-sponsored scheme, RSBY provides cashless health insurance worth Rs 30,000 to BPL families for hospitalisation in private as well as government hospitals. The facility is provided by selected insurance providers which provide the insurance cover for a year. By July, most of the districts' insurance cover had expired for the year 2012-13. Kumar said the insurance cover of Mirzapur and Sonebhadra districts expired in October.

While the process of smart card enrolment has begun in 65 districts of the state, the process is yet to start in remaining ten districts including Bulandshahr, Saharanpur, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Panchsheel Nagar, Azamgarh, Mirzapur, Kanshiran Nagar, GB Nagar and Ambedkar Nagar.

"In the first tender given to ICICI , the agreement was to make 32 kb cards. When we upgraded to 64 kb, ICICI refused to provide these cards at the agreed amount in some of the districts and hence, we had to re-tender for one cluster of districts. The card enrolment process in these districts will start from January," said Kumar. The beneficiaries will start getting the insurance benefits from February 2013, he said. He further added that the eastern districts where the process is yet to start, the delay was caused due to change in third party associates (which assist the insurance companies in implementation of the scheme).

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