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Jobs and Development Blog - The Jobs Knowledge Platform > Posts > Using Smart Cards for Health Insurance for India's Poorest
Using Smart Cards for Health Insurance for India's Poorest
February 19, 2013 | Contribution by ANIL SWARUP

Anil Swarup
Director of General
Ministry of Labour & Employment, India

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


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. 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).

1. National Health Insurance Scheme uses Smart Cards
2. How the health insurance scheme works
3. Scheme will be extended to other sectors
4. The scheme's applicability for other countries


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