The Union Health Ministry has fixed a target to give Ayushman Bharat cards to 25 crore people by the end of this financial year. To get there, it has now reached out to other central government ministries seeking updated databases of their welfare schemes.
Nearly four years after the scheme was launched, about 18.5 crore people have received their Ayushman Bharat cards, which enables them to receive free treatment at government and private hospitals with a family cover up to Rs 5 lakh a year. No one is denied treatment in the absence of the card, and it is made once the person reaches a hospital.
There are an estimated 53 crore beneficiaries under the scheme, as per data of the SECC, 2011.
“We will take the number of Ayushman Cards to 25 crore by the end of this financial year,” a top government official told News18.
The scheme was given a push under Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya after he took over last year in July. Until then, less than 12 crore beneficiaries had got the cards over three years of the scheme. Over 6.5 crore people got the cards in the past one year and the target is to reach the 25-crore mark by the end of this financial year.
Reach out to other ministries
The Health Ministry has reached out to the Central Government ministries implementing welfare schemes such as the PM Ujjwala Yojana and the PM Awas Yojana using SECC 2011 database, so as to use the “updated databases” of such welfare schemes for better targeting of potential Ayushman Bharat beneficiaries. The outdated and defective SECC 2011 data is seen as a major reason for the low uptake of the Ayushman Bharat scheme so far.
For example, under the PM Ujjwala Yojana scheme, about 11 crore families have got a cylinder connection, translating into a coverage of about 50 crore people. Under the PM Awas Yojana, over three crore families are registered for a house. Under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, however, the Centre and states have found it tough to trace out prospective beneficiaries.
The Health Ministry has also taken steps to increase avenues for Ayushman card generation by onboarding additional agencies for card generation and card approval, and has integrated pan-India promotional campaigns of Ayushman Bharat Scheme with other national flagship schemes to increase awareness of people.
Nearly 3.65 crore hospital admissions worth over Rs 43,000 crore have been authorised under the Ayushman Bharat scheme so far, with nearly 25,000 government and private hospitals empaneled under the scheme.
There has been in a jump in the number of admissions under the scheme in the last one year too, as admissions reached the 2-crore mark a year ago. The government wants to extend the free medical treatment benefit to 2 crore people every year, by increasing the awareness of the scheme. Firstpos