Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched his government’s flagship Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (AB-PMJAY) billed as the world’s largest public health insurance scheme in Ranchi, calling it a “game changer”.
Modi who also launched 10 wellness centres in Jharkhand and laid the foundation stones of medical colleges in Chaibasa and Koderma, said the scheme was a step towards serving the poor people of the country.
“Today the focus of the entire nation is on Ranchi. In over 400 districts of the country, a similar event is taking place. Even the last person standing should get better health facility. More than 50 crore people will get insurance up to Rs 5 lakh. This is the world’s first such scheme. No other country has a scheme like this. The number of people who are to benefit from this is almost equal to the population of the entire European Union,” Modi said at a rally while launching the scheme.
The scheme was launched simultaneously in 476 districts across the country for the benefit 10.74 crore families. Modi described Ayushman Bharat as a miracle and assured beneficiaries that the scheme would take care of them in case of any misfortune.
“This work wasn’t easy or small. It was all done within 6 months. It is a miracle in itself and that is why I want to congratulate my entire team,” he said. “Even while inaugurating this scheme i would want hospitals to remain empty as i do not want any of my countrymen to suffer. But if something like that ever happens to you, Ayushman Bharat will take care of you.”
Thirty-one States and Union territories are already on board and have signed an MoU with the central government to implement the scheme.
Another component of the Ayushman Bharat scheme is launching 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres across the country. According to the National Health Agency (NHA), which is the central implementing agency for the scheme, two more states are in the process of signing the required MoU with the Centre for the scheme.
The states that have been openly reluctant to join Ayushman Bharat are Odisha and Delhi.
While the scheme beneficiaries have been selected on the basis of socio-economic caste census-2011 (SECS-2011) data, the government has decided to also extend the scheme additionally to those families that were availing of the government’s earlier Rashtrya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY).
“On the basis of census 2011 data, there are about 10.74 crore beneficiary families but we have decided to add those also who used to get cover under the RSBY as we don’t want to take away the benefits from anyone,” said Indu Bhushan, CEO- AB-PMJAY.
The number of beneficiary families will now go up to 12 crores after two more states joined the scheme.
An estimated Rs 12,000 crores will be spent under the Ayushman Bharat mission with 60% being borne by the Government of Indianand 40 percent by the State. Beneficiaries can avail hospitalization treatment for 1350 pre-identified diseases.
“Our aim is to screen 30 and above people for non communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cancers of oral cavity, breast and cervix at the primary level. It will be door-to-door screening and will also include screening for TB and Leprosy,” said Union health minister JP Nadda. .