About 47.5 lakh domestic helps would soon get medical insurance benefits under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) with the Union Cabinet approving the proposal on Thursday. The scheme, which envisages smart card-based cashless health insurance cover of up to Rs. 30,000 under any empanelled hospital anywhere in the country, was approved by the Cabinet at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Earlier this month, the Cabinet had given its nod to extend the same scheme to 55 lakh beedi workers by 2013-14.

The RSBY would be extended to those domestic workers who are registered and are between 18-59 years of age, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said, adding that majority of them are women.

The beneficiaries would have to get identification certificates from any two of the four institutions the employer, resident’s welfare associations, registered trade unions or the police, Labour and Employment Minister Mallikarjun Kharge said.

The annual estimated expenditure to be incurred by the Centre to extend the benefits of RSBY to domestic workers would be Rs. 29.70 crore in 2011-12, Rs. 74.25 crore in 2012-13, Rs. 148.50 crore in 2013-14 and Rs. 297 crore in 2014-15.

While the Centre would be bearing 75 per cent of the entire cost, the states would have to incur the remaining amount.

For the Northeastern states, the ratio would be 90 per cent for the Centre and ten per cent for states, Kharge said, adding that ten per cent of domestic workers would be covered in the first year.

Cabinet nod to Law Ministry proposal to fast track cases

Faced with a staggering 2.5 crore pending cases in courts, government on Thursday approved a proposal to fast track disposal of cases to reduce the period of pendency from the present upto 15 years to three.

The Union Cabinet gave its approval to the Law Ministry’s proposal for operationalising the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms under which the Centre will bear an estimated expenditure of Rs. 5,510 crore over five years till 2016.

The mission’s objective is to increase access to justice by reducing delays and arrears and enhanced accountability through structural changes and by setting performance standards.

Its broad areas are policy and legislative changes, re-engineering of procedures, human resource development, leveraging ICT and improve physical infrastructure of subordinate courts.

As part of the proposal, the Ministry plans to share 75 per cent of the grants involved in developing the infrastructure in states to bring down spiralling number of cases, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters in New Delhi.

For the Northeast region, the Centre will bear 90 per cent of the expenses.

So far, the Centre used to share 50 per cent of the grants.

Under the proposal, a mission directorate will be set up to oversee the implementation of the national mission.

It was envisaged in the ‘vision statement’ adopted by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Ministers in October 2009.

The statement contained a road map for improving justice delivery and legal reforms and steps to reduce pendency in courts from 15 to three years by 2012. The deadline has been extended to 2016.

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