The workers in the unorganized sector constitute about 93% of the total work force in the country. The Government has been implementing some social security measures for certain occupational groups but the coverage is miniscule. Majority of the workers are still without any social security coverage. One of the major insecurities for workers in the unorganized sector is the frequent incidences of illness and need for medical care and hospitalization of such workers and their family members. Despite the expansion in the health facilities, illness remains one of the most prevalent causes of human deprivation in India.

It has been clearly recognized that health insurance is one way of providing protection to poor households against the risk of health spending leading to poverty. The poor are unable or unwilling to take up health insurance because of its cost, or lack of perceived benefits. Organizing and administering health insurance, especially in rural areas, is also difficult. Recognizing the need for providing social security to these workers, the Central Government has introduced the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY). Till March 25, 2013, the scheme had 34,285,737 Smart Cards and 5,097,128 hospitalization cases.