Informal sanitation workers to get govt health insurance cover under PM-JAY

The Centre has decided to expand health insurance coverage for informal sanitation workers to expand its outreach to grassroot-level workers through government schemes.

The Centre has decided to bring these workers, mostly involved in sanitation work like septic tank cleaning and casual sanitation work, under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) or Ayushman Bharat. The scheme provides health cover of ‘5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation to economically weaker sections. The government has decided that in case an informal sanitation worker is not in the beneficiary list, the government would pay the premium to bring him and his family under the ambit of the PM-JAY. The premium will be funded from the ministry of social justice and empowerment’s new scheme — the National Action for Mechanised Sanitation Ecosystem (NAMASTE).

The move comes after recent ground visits revealed how casual workers, specifically sanitation workers, had not tapped into the government schemes due to lack of awareness. On a recent visit to Meerut, ministry officials reported that out of 42 sanitation workers the team interacted with to generate awareness, only one worker was a beneficiary of PM-JAY and the remaining did not have access.

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