What is Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan?

Yesterday India celebrated its 72nd Independence day. The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi unfurled the national flag at Red Fort and addressed the country for the fifth and last time this tenure. He mentioned about how his initiatives on Clean India, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna, Mudra Loans and GST have been successful in moving India forward. Keeping this in mind, his government now has shifted its focus on “Health For All”.  

The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyan (Ayushman Bharat) is a new large scale health insurance initiative which aims to benefit many rural citizens of India. This scheme will be launched on September 25th, 2018 which also happens to be the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay.  With this scheme, coverage of 5 lakhs will be provided per family annually which benefits many of the poor Indians in the rural and semi urban areas. According to the latest Socio-economic caste census data, there are around 50 crore people who will benefit from this scheme.

 Why is this scheme needed?

Our PM rightly mentions that in poor families, when someone falls sick, it hurts the balance of the entire family’s income and savings. Hence this scheme will aim on such families and reduce their burden as much as possible.

What is covered?

According to a study by the Public Health Foundation of India in May 2018, Indians pay more than three fourths of the total healthcare costs all by themselves.  Due to this, many are pushed below the poverty line. Hence more than 1000+ medical and surgical packages which fall under 25 specialties are covered.

These specialties include chemotherapy, neurosurgery, cardiology and many more. Out of the few benefits, fees such as consultation fees, medicines, diagnostic tests, food for patients, basic hospitalization expenses will be covered. This scheme will be implemented by a joint effort of central, state and district level.   

Who has signed up for this?

For the first stage, Manipur, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Daman and Diu, West Bengal, Chattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Chandigarh. This program will be tested on these states and union territories. Slowly, the whole of India shall be covered. If a state wishes to opt out of this, they can do so. Currently only Odisha has opted out of this scheme.

Overall, this scheme which is also referred to as “Modicare” does look promising and if executed well can shape healthcare in India. With access to such quality healthcare, the country will now be able to work on its way of progress.

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