Jakarta. President Joko Widodo on Monday launched the much-vaunted Indonesia Smart Card and Indonesia Heath Card, despite calls from an education group that introduction should be postponed due to multiple shortcomings.
The cards, which will be similar to the Jakarta Health Card (KJS) and Jakarta Smart Card (JKP) implemented when Joko was governor of the capital, were officially unveiled by the president in Jakarta around noon and will be distributed around the country starting Nov. 7.
The health and education programs will reach tens of millions of Indonesians and provide a number of benefits to holders. The cards offer free health insurance for the poor; guarantee 12 years free education and provide for students’ educational needs; the cards also guarantee free higher education for poor students who pass the university entrance exams.
However, education group Gerakan Indonesia Pintar (Smart Indonesia Movement) has called on Joko to postpone the launch of the programs, saying shortcomings will render them ineffective.
"We urge the president to take some time in launching the programs and also postpone the signing of an inpres [presidential instruction] for the programs because they still bear many shortcomings," said Alpha Amirrachman, secretary general of Smart Indonesia Movement.
Alpha said the National Team for the Acceleration of Poverty Alleviation (TNP2TK), which provides data for the two programs, does not have adequate or comprehensive information on the economic, social and geographic obstacles faced by Indonesia's poor. He said the Ministry of Social Affairs should instead be responsible for providing data for the programs.
Chairwoman of the Smart Indonesia Movement Yanti Sriyulianti said the inpres failed to provide technical details anticipating problems such as delivery in areas where banking services were limited or non-existent.
"We don't want the receivers to spend so much money only for transportation to get the funds at a bank," Yanti said. "Banks should make trips to remote areas. Besides that, regional development banks should also take part in ensuring affordability."
The Indonesia Smart Card is targeted at 24 million poor students, including students eligible for scholarships and others that cannot attend school because of financial issues. Students can receive Rp 225,000 ($18.50) per semester for elementary students; Rp 375,000 per semester for junior high students; and Rp 500,000 per semester for senior high or vocational school students. The funds will be accessible through state-run lender Bank Mandiri, or appointed outlets.
The Indonesia Heath Card is expected to be delivered to 88.1 million Indonesians who struggle to meet basic needs, namely the food poverty line (GKM) — set at 2,100 kilocalories per day — and the non-food poverty line (GKBM), which is set based on 51 commodities in urban areas and 47 commodities in rural areas. Food commodities include rice, eggs, chicken meat, instant noodles and sugar. Non-food commodities are housing, education, clothes, electricity and fuel.
Medical costs will be covered by the government and managed by the Social Security Organizing Body (BPJS) and include a monthly health insurance premium of Rp 19,225 per person.