Paying tribute to former Prime Minister late Rajiv Gandhi on his 75th birth anniversary, Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh launched his government’s flagship universal health insurance scheme ‘Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana’, benefitting nearly 46 lakh families, in Mohali near Chandigarh on Tuesday.
On this occasion, e-cards were handed over to the first 11 beneficiaries to kick off the scheme, which would entitle beneficiaries to avail annual cashless treatment up to ₹5 lakh per family per year, including pre-existing diseases, was aimed at ensuring the best possible treatment to the beneficiaries free of cost.
Dedicating the welfare initiative to Rajiv Gandhi, Capt. Amarinder Singh announced that with this launch of the scheme that will cover 76 per cent of state’s population, Punjab has become the first state in the country to offer medical insurance cover to the maximum number of its people. The CM added that his government was committed to fulfilling the aspirations of the people with the vision of the country’s youngest prime minister.
Amarinder said it had taken his government several months to draw the roadmap for the implementation of the cashless treatment scheme to cover 76 per cent of its population, in sharp contrast to the 12 per cent that would have been covered otherwise under the Central Government’s PMJAY scheme. Similar schemes in other states had covered up a mere 30 per cent of their population, he pointed out.
The Chief Minister recalled Rajiv’s proactive role in sanctioning approval for setting the first multinational project in Punjab in the form of Pepsi. "I was then the Punjab Agriculture Minister and had submitted a proposal to PMO for setting up this plant, which was vital for state's diversification plans. I still remember how, exactly on the eighth day, I got a message that PM wanted to meet me and the project was approved,” Amarinder Singh said nostalgically.
Giving details of the Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana, the Chief Minister revealed it would cover a total of 20.43 lakh smart ration card holder families, in addition to 14.86 lakh families enrolled as per Socio Economic Caste Census Data, 4.94 lakh J form holder farmer families, 2.8 lakh small farmers, and more than 2.38 lakh construction workers registered with the state construction welfare board, besides 46,000 small traders. The scheme has also been extended to around 4500 journalists accredited to the state or holding yellow cards.
Equipped with specially designed 1396 treatment packages, the scheme will be implemented through more than 450 empanelled hospitals, including 200 government hospitals. Of the total premium of ₹333 Crores under the Mahatma Gandhi Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana, the state's share is 83%, which amounts to ₹276 crore, while the Government of India would be paying the remaining ₹57 crore. Surgical packages under the scheme also include the cost of pre-hospitalization for 3 days and post-hospitalization for 15 days.