Centre mulls health insurance for coir workers

Centre mulls health insurance for coir workersAlappuzha (Kerala), Feb 4 : The centre is planning to extend a number of welfare schemes, including the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), to coir workers, Minister of State for Labour and Employment Kodikkunnil Suresh said Monday.

The RSBY programme for below poverty line (BPL) families provides hospitalisation coverage of up to Rs. 30,000 with beneficiaries required to pay only Rs. 30 as registration fee.

After agriculture, the coir sector provides the maximum number of jobs in Kerala. It employs nearly 3.5 lakh people, of which 80 per cent are women.

Another plan under active consideration of the central government is to extend to coir workers the labour ministry's Skill Development Initiative, a programme designed to increase employability of individuals by providing them vocational training and to certify existing skills that will help them find jobs within the country and overseas.

"India is well placed to gain the ground that Chinese products are losing worldwide. If we invest in skills upgradation, new technology and product development in coir we can benefit immensely from this shift," said Suresh while inaugurating a seminar at Coir Kerala 2013 event.

"The central government has allocated crores of rupees for the 'ASIDE' (Assistance to States for Infrastructure Development and Exports) scheme. Why don't we take advantage of this fund pool to create something like a Coir Park? This will not just bring in foreign exchange through exports, but will be huge employment generators," added Suresh. (IANS)

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