The government said on Wednesday it was ready with a draft to introduce a cashless treatment regimen for traffic accident victims.

The system will have an insurance coverage cap of Rs 250,000 per case, according to a notice to the State Transport Secretaries and Commissioners.

The program is growing in importance as India records about 500,000 road accidents annually, one of the highest in the world, killing about 150,000 people and crippling about 300,000.

“The Ministry of Roads and Highways has drafted the implementation of the system of cashless treatment of victims of car accidents provided for in the MV Act of 2019. This includes treatment of victims during the crucial golden hour,” a statement said Ministry.

In this regard, by the 10th of this month the Department of Transportation has written to the chief transportation secretaries and secretaries responsible for transportation in all states and union territories for their views on the conceptual note of the system. The program also includes the establishment of a motor vehicle accident fund.

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“The National Health Authority, which is the hub for PM-JAY (Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri – Jan Arogya Yojana) and has over 21,000 hospitals on board nationwide, has been tasked with implementing the program,” the statement said.

The ministry said the system would “provide compulsory insurance for all road users in the country”.

The fund would be used to treat victims of road accidents and to pay compensation to the injured or the families of those who die in emergencies.

The proposed modalities of the system are designed to give everyone, regardless of their ability to pay, access to quality care at the right time, she added.

NHA’s robust IT platforms used to implement PM-JAY could be used to provide cashless treatment to traffic accident victims, including the golden hour (first hour of the accident), the statement to states said .

“All traffic accident victims with Indian or foreign nationality will be eligible as beneficiaries of the system. The system has a limit of Rs 250,000 / person / accident,” the statement said.

Trauma and health services for victims of road accidents are funded through an account set up by the Ministry of Road Transport to implement the system.

“The funds will receive contributions from insurance companies through the general insurance council for secured vehicles and for hit and run cases,” the statement said, adding that the ministry will pay for accidents for uninsured vehicles.

In addition, vehicle owners are required to pay the treatment costs as part of the compensation for uninsured vehicles.

32 out of 36 states / union territories are implementing PM-JAY, and the program provides benefits to approximately 13 crore families.

As part of the program, according to the communication, victims will have access to cashless trauma treatment at the nearest suitable hospital in the country.

“Hospitals need to stabilize if they refer the patient to a staffed PM-JAY hospital where full treatment can be provided,” it said.

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