States and UTs need to pay more attention to the Ayushman Bharat scheme: PM Modi

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, and Bihar “to pay more attention” to his government’s signature Ayushman Bharat scheme, after these big states reported a low number of hospital admissions compared with the large number of potential beneficiaries located there.

The PM had on December 30 reviewed the scheme, under which a Rs 5 lakh free medical insurance cover is offered to the poor. “Governments of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Lakshadweep, Goa, the Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Puducherry need to pay more attention to the scheme,” said the minutes of the meeting which were reviewed by ET.

Goa and Arunachal Pradesh are also ruled by the BJP. In Bihar, it is the larger partner in the ruling coalition.

As per data available till September last year, Bihar had reported only 2.08 lakh admissions under the scheme since its inception, while Uttar Pradesh had reported 4.56 lakh and Madhya Pradesh 4.46 lakh admissions. These were significantly fewer than the numbers from smaller states like Gujarat and Chhattisgarh, which had reported 19.3 lakh and 10.7 lakh admissions, respectively.

Also, Bihar had issued just 54 lakh e-cards under the scheme till September. For UP and MP, these were 96 lakh and 1.45 crore e-cards. There are about five crore beneficiaries apiece in UP and Bihar.

The Centre has released only Rs 232 crore to UP and Rs 170 crore to Bihar from 2018 to March 2020 under the scheme, due to low level of claims filed post hospitalisation. It had disbursed Rs 4,841 crore country-wide in the same period.

At the review meeting chaired by the PM, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and UTs were asked to fix a time frame to complete 100% enrolment in UTs under the scheme and to start a drive to empanel more hospitals, especially in small cities and towns, and complete the process by March 31, 2021.

All states were also told to “make serious efforts to expedite e-card generation” as only 13 crore e-cards have been generated so far under the scheme which has more than 50 crore beneficiaries. “The continuum of care mechanism needs to be strengthened between health & wellness centres and PM Jan Aarogya Yojana (Ayushman Bharat),” the PM directed at the meeting.

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