Various Schemes have been operational in India and the Government has been spending millions of Rupees on these schemes, but the benefits of these schemes do not reach the entitled beneficiaries to the desired extent. Various leakages of revenue, improper management of resources and overall mismanagement results into increased expenditure. Many of these problems can be resolved through appropriate use of Information Technology. Smart Card technologies and Biometrics can play a key role through proper system integration.
The ECHS Smart Card would have been India's largest Nationwide Smart Card project covering the entire country. As quoted by the DG (ECHS), Lt Gen Vijay Dua, during the inauguration of the Smart Card project, 'the scheme would be larger and better than the French Health Scheme which also uses the Smart Card'. Volume issuance from all the 13 regions has started, hardware and software for Central location, Regional centers and polyclinics has already been deployed. Remote polyclinics have already started providing services to Ex-servicemen. Smart cards play a pivotal role in the scheme.
ECHS Smart Card
Present status after spending millions of Rupees
The ECHS Polyclinics have made the SMART Card a paper dummy and its use is confined to identify the ESM and dependants. There is no networked computers visible in the ECHS Polyclinics. The registration at OPD is carried out manually by 2 to 3 clerks with multiple registers and using methods evolved and in vogue 40 years back for documentation of patients. The time taken for each ESM Patient averages about 15 minutes. Practically each clerk can handle about 20 patients in a day. What a waste of time. A typical cart before the horse scheme for welfare of Ex- servicemen! Had DG ECHS witnessed the French Bastille day celebrated on July 14, 2009 led this year by a detachment of the Indian army, he would have certainly put the horse before the cart. Today we are nowhere anywhere near the French Health Scheme, just that similarity ends with the SMART card.