Touted to be the world's largest, PM Narendra Modi's ambitious healthcare scheme Ayushman Bharat somehow couldn't gain the confidence of five Opposition-ruled states in the country.
Touted to be the world’s largest, PM Narendra Modi’s ambitious healthcare scheme Ayushman Bharat somehow couldn’t gain the confidence of five Opposition-ruled states in the country. The governments of Telangana, Odisha, Delhi, Kerala and Punjab remained opposed to implementing the scheme. The state governments either pointed out flaws in the scheme or contended that they have better ones in place already. For example, Naveen Patnaik-led Odisha government contested that they have Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana which covers many more people than Ayushman Bharat and provides Rs 7 lakh to women as opposed to Rs 5 lakh in centre’s programme. Modi took an exception to this and accused Patnaik of ignoring a programme that is bound to help his state. However, the chief minister hit back at Modi saying that prime minister must focus his energies on curbing the rising prices of fuel in the country instead of picking on a state that already has a good health care programme.
Similar claims were made by Telangana which rejected the scheme arguing that its Aarogyasri scheme covers 70 per cent of the state’s population, while the Ayushman Bharat will benefit a mere 80 lakh people.
The scheme, which calls for a 60:40 funding between centre and state, was termed as a hoax by the Kerala government. In an interview with The Indian Express, State Finance Minister Thomas Isaac has recently raised questions on the “feasibility” terming it an “obvious hoax”. In his interview, Isaac wondered how the government would implement the scheme at such a big scale. “The subsidy ceiling for the current RSBY scheme of Rs. 30,000 benefit is Rs. 1,250. The subsidy for the Ayushman scheme, with benefits of Rs. 5 lakh, is Rs. 1,110. Is it possible to have such a jump in benefits for lower premium?” he had said.
CM Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government has rejected to implement as it targets 6 lakh families, which is just 3 per cent of its 2-crore population.
Amarinder Singh’s led Punjab government also held similar reservations. Punjab had written to the centre saying it will sign the Memorandum of Understanding to operationalise the scheme only after it gets clarity on the flow of finances.