West Bengal exits Ayushman Bharat scheme
The government of West Bengal has decided to exit from the Centre’s ambitious Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana.
Reasons cited by the West Bengal for the Withdrawal
The letter of the West Bengal government to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India has cited the following reasons for the withdrawal:
- The Government of India was issuing entitlement letters to the beneficiaries without the knowledge of the state government.
- Prior to the launch of the Ayushman Bharat scheme, West Bengal had well established Swasthyasathi. It was agreed to retain the name of Swasthyasathi, this was even acknowledged in the MoU between the State and the Ministry of Family and Health, Government of India. But the centre has unilaterally changed the name of the scheme to Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana.
- Even though the state government have a key role in the implementation and are shouldering 40% of the cost for the scheme, the centre is unilaterally taking important decisions and is projecting the scheme as of central scheme rather than centrally sponsored one.
The Government of West Bengal has alleged that the Central government was politicising the scheme by sending letters about its provisions to every household of the state with the picture of PM and a lotus symbol on top.
West Bengal has joined states of Telangana, Kerala, Odisha, and Delhi which have opted out of the scheme for varied reasons.
Pradhan Mantri – Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY)
Pradhan Mantri – Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) is a scheme of the government under Ayushman Bharat. The scheme aims to reduce the financial burden on poor and vulnerable groups arising out of catastrophic hospital episodes and ensure their access to quality health services was conceived. It also seeks to accelerate India’s progress towards the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goal – 3 (SDG3).
Under the scheme about 10.74 crore poor, deprived rural families and identified occupational categories of urban workers’ families as per the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data (approx. 50 crore beneficiaries) will have health benefit cover of Rs. 500,000 per family per year at free of cost. The health benefit cover includes more than 1,350 medical packages covering surgery, medical and daycare treatments, cost of medicines and diagnostics.