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Social insurance schemes in infancy stage: WB report

Monday, May 30, 2011
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New Delhi: India's insurance-based social protection programmes are yet to make any impact on the unorganized sector because of poor design and lack of proper implementation mechanism, a World Bank report said. "Insurance-based interventions remain in their infancy in terms of coverage of the unorganized...," the report titled 'Social Protection for a Changing India' said. The Indian government has started several social insurance based schemes, including Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY), Aam Admi Bima Yojana (AABY) and social insurance for unorganized workers. The report, however said that expanding informal sector coverage of social insurance is a challenge that India has had relatively limited success with until very recently, despite a series of central and state-specific schemes. "This has been a product of poor design, inadequate attention to institutional and implementation arrangements, and a 'startstop' approach to new initiatives," it said. The report further said that the expansion is not easy, and many developing countries have struggled in expansion of social insurance coverage in the face of large informal sector. While appreciating the RSBY scheme aimed at providing subsidised health insurance for hospitalisation for BPL households, the report said, "(it is) exciting and rapidly expanding initiative which can provide a way forward". As per an estimate of National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector (NCEUS), the unorganized sector constituted 86 per cent of total workers in 2004-05. Of the 393.2 million unorganized sector workers, agriculture accounted for 251.7 million and the rest 141.5 million are employed in the non-agriculture sector.
Source: PTI
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