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India's First National Level SCOSTA Based Health Project : A Smart Card Success Story !!!
 
India's First National Level SCOSTA Based Health Project : A Smart Card Success Story:
 
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 be 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.
 
Another first to the credit of this project is the use of national Smart Card Operating System Standard (SCOSTA) specified by NIC, Government of India. Although the standard has been defined for quite some time now, it could not be adopted for implementation of any project. ECHS smart card project adopted the SCOSTA standard from the pre tendering state itself. The use of this open standard would ensure interoperability, compliance of International Security and Quality standards, and more importantly vendor independence.
 
Ex Servicemen Central Health Scheme (ECHS) was authorized by the Government of India on 30 Dec 2002, and has been introduced from 01 April 2003. It is a publicly funded Medicare scheme for ex-servicemen and pensioners & their eligible dependants, and will provide comprehensive, quality treatment through out-patient treatment at 227 Polyclinics all over India, and in-patient hospitalization & treatment through Military Hospitals and out-sourced Civil Hospitals & Diagnostic Centers at all these 227 locations, which will be empanelled for the purpose. Treatment/hospitalization in Service Hospitals will be available to ECHS members, subject to availability of specialty, medical staff and bed space. The ECHS Scheme has brought in tremendous flexibility and empowerment for pensioners. In order to meet the vast requirements to manage and effectively operate the scheme, Ministry of Defence, Government of India felt the need of a 'smart', secure low cost media which could store/ update critical information. In fact the Scheme became operational as the 'smart card' could provide solutions to most of the concerns of the Government. The major needs which have been successfully addressed by the smart card solution includes the following;
 
Secure Identity card for the ex-servicemen and all the dependants who are entitled to avail the benefits of the scheme. The security of various processes is ensured through a combination of:
 
Key Management System
Biometric
Data communication Security
 
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