More than 1.5 years after its launch, Delhi govt to implement ‘Ayushman Bharat Yojana’

Astha Saxena
Arvind Kejriwal, Narendra Modi, Kejriwal Modi meeting, Modi Kejriwal meet, Kejriwal Modi Parliament, Delhi violence, amit shah

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced his flagship project, Ayushman Bharat or National Health Protection Scheme on Independence Day, last year.

In a significant announcement, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said during Monday’s budget that the Aam Aadmi Party government will implement Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious health project, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana -- Ayushman Bharat (PMJAY-AB) in the fiscal year 2020-2021.

“The Delhi government will implement the Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana in Delhi in 2020-21 to provide health insurance cover up to Rs 5 lakh per family every year,” said Sisodia.

The health scheme has been a bone of contention between the Delhi and central governments. The AAP government had asked the National Health Authority to rename the scheme to Mukhya Mantri Aam Aadmi Swasthya Bima Yojana -- Ayushman Bharat in Delhi. During the assembly elections, BJP leaders had criticised the AAP government for not implementing the health scheme, depriving Delhi residents of its benefits.

Launched in 2018, PMJAY-AB provides a cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year, which includes 1,400 packages spread over 23 specialties.

Last year, Kejriwal wrote a letter to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan stating that the Delhi Health Scheme is ten times better than the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat scheme. Comparing both, Kejriwal had said that while the Centre’s scheme has restrictions, the Delhi government’s health scheme is available to all. In 2018, he had called the scheme a “publicity stunt” and explained why it hadn’t been implemented in the capital.

On Friday, Sisodia said: “One of the most important and talked about principles of the Kejriwal-led government is to have healthcare facilities for all. Making health facilities available for a certain section of the society was followed earlier in Delhi. But under the Kejriwal model of governance, we have given identity to mohalla clinics, government hospitals and with the introduction of projects like farishtey scheme, free testing in private hospitals, we have taken the Delhi healthcare system to a different level.”

The government has allocated Rs 7,704 crore in 2020-2021 towards healthcare. In the previous budget, a total outlay of Rs 7,485 crore was allotted. The number of mohalla clinics will be increased to 1,000, with an outlay of Rs 365 crore being made for these and polyclinics.

“From April to December, over 55 lakh patients have availed services at the mohalla clinics. Around 2.15 crore people have been treated at polyclinics and the government hospitals in Delhi,” Sisodia said.

Talking about the coronavirus, Sisodia said the Delhi government has been working diligently in coordination with the central government in their fight against the disease. A provision of Rs 50 crore has been made for 2020-21 and Rs 3 crore in the current financial year. “In the future, we will continue to allocate as much as required to deal with this epidemic,” he added.

The government has also started the work of upgrading and expanding existing hospitals and construction of new hospitals to increase the bed capacity from 10,000 to 26,000.

In yet another patient-friendly scheme, the government will provide free treatment, surgery, radiology, diagnostic schemes and medical treatment through the Arogya Kosh in Delhi under the purview of the Mukhya Mantri Swasthya Yojna. Under the new scheme, 1,016 surgical, 123 oncology and 10 neonatal procedures, as well as six medical packages, have been made part of the 86 surgeries already covered under the DAK -- a corpus that funds various health schemes for residents of Delhi. This includes implants as well as treatment for vector-borne diseases.

To streamline the patient services in the state-run hospitals, the government will launch the Mukhya Mantri Health ID card. For registration, a person will have to provide his or her voter ID and Aadhaar card. Once a patient has registered, her entire medical history will be recorded in one place.

The government has also introduced an informer-reward scheme for the decoys and pregnant women who help conduct raids on labs and clinics illegally performing sex-determination tests.