PM Modi to launch ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme from Jharkhand today

Henrietta Strickland
September 25, 2018

What is the Ayushman Bharat Scheme?

The scheme will target poor, deprived rural families and identified the occupational category of urban workers' families, 8.03 crore in rural and 2.33 crore in urban areas, as per the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data.

All the beneficiaries will be given letters having QR codes which will be scanned and a demographic authentication conducted for identification and to verify his or her eligibility to avail the benefits of the scheme.

Speaking on this occasion, Union Health Minister J P Nadda said, it is a historic moment as Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana is going to bring a fundamental change in healthcare in the country. The beneficiaries are identified based on four "deprivation categories". One would only need to establish one's identity to avail benefits under the scheme and it could be through Aadhaar card or election ID or ration card. They will run help desks and check documents to verify the eligibility for the scheme.

Questions remain over how the government will finance the project, however, and the co-ordination required between central and state governments could undermine the scheme. It is only after this that the treatment will begin.

Moreover, members of the beneficiary families will not have to pay anything in case of hospitalisation, provided they visit empanelled hospitals. As of now, 8,735 private and public hospitals have been announced to be empaneled hospitals for the scheme, among the 15,686 applications that the center has received.

The government-sponsored health insurance scheme will provide free coverage of up to ₹5 lakh a family a year in any government or even empanelled private hospitals all over India.

How has the budget for the scheme been allocated?

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Ayushman Bharat, dubbed as the world's largest government-funded healthcare scheme, is expected to benefit 50 crore citizens.

"The Prime Minister will launch the scheme on 23 September but it will effectively become operational from 25 September on the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay", according to Niti Aayog member V.K. Paul, the chief architect of the scheme. He also laid the foundation stones for medical colleges in Chaibasa and Koderma, and inaugurated 10 health and wellness centres. Therefore full uptake is still be building up.

As many as 30 states and Union Territories have signed MoUs with the Centre and will implement the programme over the next two-to-three months.

Mr Patnaik made light of the taunt, pointing out that his state's Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana covers many more people than Ayushman Bharat and provides Rs. 7 lakh to women as opposed to the central programme's Rs. 5 lakh. Considering that an household has 5 members on an average, almost 50 crore of India's 130-crore population will be covered under the scheme.

The prime minister also congratulated the team of experts that was instrumental in implementing the scheme. Punjab government also expressed concerns and refrained from signing the MoU and stated that its Bhagat Puran Singh Sehat Bima Yojna (BPSSBY) covers many more families than what was proposed by the Centre for the Ayushman Bharat scheme.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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