Indo-German Social Security Agreement

More than 400 million people – about 88% of India`s labour force – are employed as contract workers, as landless agricultural workers, or as small contractors. The majority of these informal workers and their families do not have access to adequate social security. Families may fall into poverty as a result of unforeseen expenses and lost income due to illness, accident or death of the main salary, or if age reduces their chances of earning money. India`s central and regional governments offer a number of social security programs. However, these programmes are often poorly organized and difficult to access for informal sector workers. The agreement applies to workers temporarily posted to a branch of a company in the other state party to fulfill or enter into certain contracts. The agreement will protect the interests of all professionals who are sent to Indian offices by Indian companies to their German subsidiaries or by German companies on the basis of short-term contracts (up to 48 months with the possibility of renewal of 12 months) by benefiting from an exemption from social security contributions in their host country. While working abroad, these workers are only subject to the social security rules of their country of origin. A bilateral social security agreement signed on 8 October 2008 between India and Germany (implemented on 1 October 2009) is the first step in this direction. The program has two main areas of activity. First, national health insurance for the poor is designed and implemented. It also improves the coordination of the various social security programmes and promotes closer cooperation.

The volume of bilateral trade between India and Germany has grown dynamically in recent years. This has led to an increase in trade between professionals from both countries, creating the need to simplify social security rules between the two countries. The Indian Ministry of Health and Family (MoHFW) is leading the program. In the past, the MoHFW programme has advised on the implementation of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), a social security for India`s poor that was active until the end of 2018. Currently, the program is helping MoHFW and the new National Health Authority (NHA) design and implement a major new health system reform. This reform involves the establishment of a national health insurance system called Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY). The scheme aims to significantly increase the number of insured people, which amounts to 500 million, and to significantly improve the quality and level of health services for the poor and in need. The agreement thus exempts workers working in other countries from the introduction of the host country`s pension scheme. The social security system for informal workers and their families has improved. . Less spending on hospital care: Independent assessments show that families covered by the RSBY had less expenses for hospital care.

Expansion of Indian health insurance: until the current reform of the health system, RSBY was one of the largest health insurance companies in the world, in terms of number of beneficiaries.

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