Despite facing criticism last month from West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee over overstepping its mandate in sending out Ayushman Bharat entitlement letters by bypassing state authorities, the Narendra Modi government has repeated the act, this time in Rajasthan.
While Rajasthan’s former BJP government had last year signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Centre for rolling out the scheme, the western state hasn’t implemented the Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), as per government’s own admission in Parliament in December last year.
In reply to a starred question Number 172 on Dec 21 on states that hadn’t implemented the Ayushman Bharat scheme as of then, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda said in Parliament, “The states of Odisha, Telangana and UT of Delhi have not yet signed MoU for implementation of PMJAY.”
Nadda’s reply added, “States of Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Kerala have signed MoU for implementation of PMJAY, however have not launched PMJAY in their states as on 16.12.2018.”
However, the letter sending spree of the government continues unabated. Earlier this month, it was reported in sections of the media that more than a two dozen bags containing lakhs of undelivered letters reached the state’s health directorate in Jaipur due to lack of a proper address.
“…if undelivered, please return to CEO, Rajasthan State Health Assurances Agency,” say the letters, since the state department was the implementation agency of the scheme in the state.
Last year, before being voted out of power, then Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje is reported to have expressed reservations about rolling out Ayushman Bharat. During her meeting with Ayushman Bharat CEO Dr Indu Bhushan, Raje is said to have mentioned that the state government’s own scheme, Bhamashah Swasthya Bima Yojana Rajasthan, was providing healthcare services to approx. 4.5 crore families.
On the other hand, Ayushman Bharat proposes to cover just 60 lakh families in the state.
Nadda had stated in Parliament in December that the total number of hospital admissions in the country under Ayushman Bharat at the time stood at 5.56.649. “The number of claims made after discharge of beneficiaries are 4,21,474 and claims submitted is for Rs 548.11 crore, as on 16.12.2018,” Nadda had also said in his reply.