PM Modi Launches Mega Health Scheme Aimed At 50 Crore Indians

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi rolled out the ambitious Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) in Ranchi, Jharkahnd. The insurance scheme aims to provide an annual health cover of ₹5 lakh per family for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.

The programme, which will benefit about 100 million poor households, or 500 million people, is touted by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government as the world’s largest health care programme.

According to health ministry officials, the 71st round of National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) revealed that 85.9% of rural households and 82% of urban households have no access to healthcare insurance/assurance. More than 24% households in rural India and 18% population in the urban area have met their healthcare expenses through some sort of borrowing. The Ayushman Bharat intends to change this status quo.

According to Niti Aayog member VK Paul, who is the chief architect of the scheme, in the current fiscal the burden on the Centre is likely to be around Rs 3,500 crore, which is why it is being termed as the world’s largest healthcare scheme. It will be funded with 60% contribution coming from the Centre and remaining from the states.

The Ayushman Bharat scheme will become operational from September 25 on the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay and the programme will be funded with 60% contribution coming from the Centre and the remaining from the states. The ambitious scheme, renamed the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyan, targets economically backward families from both rural and urban India.

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 card or ration card. Having an Aadhaar card is not mandatory. In case of hospitalization, members of the beneficiary families do not need to pay anything under the scheme, provided one goes to a government or an empanelled private hospital. States like Telangana, Odisha, Delhi, Kerala and Punjab have not signed the launch with the Centre.

The scheme targets the poor, deprived rural families and identifies an 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. The health ministry has included 1,354 packages in the scheme under which treatment for coronary bypass, knee replacements and stenting among others would be provided at 15-20% cheaper rates than the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS).