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Punjab to Extend PMJAY Health Cover to 42 Lakh Families, Bear Additional Cost

Despite objections by the Punjab Finance Department, the state government decided to sign up with the Center for the Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), under which the state would extend health cover to 42 lakh families in the state. The Ayushman Bharat will provide for insurance cover to only 14.96 lakh families listed as Below Poverty Line by Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC), 2011. Punjab Cabinet on Wednesday, however, gave its nod to state government’s decision for extending the scheme to 42 lakh families out of the total 61 lakh in the state. The additional cost of extending the scheme to bigger pool will borne by the state government alone. Covering all families under Universal Health Insurance Scheme was the pre-poll promise of the Congress. But the cash-crunched government would find it difficult to cover 42 lakh families. For this, the Cabinet has decided to set up a committee under the Chief Secretary, to work out the financial modalities for the implementation of the scheme, to be implemented at an estimated cost of over ₹300 crore to the state, by cutting the budgets of other departments, as and where necessary, said a statement by the government.

The government has decided to extend the scheme to provide ₹5 lakh insurance cover to 42 lakh of the total 61 lakh families in the state. These include families of farmers, construction workers and small traders, as well as the other poor families (currently covered under the Bhagat Puran Singh Sehat Bima Yojana — BPSSBY), said a statement. With another 6-7 lakh government employees already covered, only the few rich families are left out of the purview of the scheme, thus effectively reaching out to the entire population of the state, said the government statement defending its decision. The estimated cost of annual premium at the rate of ₹1082 per family would be shared between the center and the state governments in the ratio of 60:40, which would cost ₹65 crore to the state government annually, for which the Finance Department had already agreed. The Cabinet also gave concurrence to extend the period of Bhagat Puran Singh Sehat Bima Yojana, which is expiring on October 31, 2018, for the next three months or implementation of revised scheme, whichever is earlier. The state has been implementing BPSSBY since 2015 for providing health insurance cover of ₹50,000 per family per year to about 35 lakh Blue Card holders and 7.90 lakh other families.

SSA, RMSA teachers to be regularized

In another important decision, the Cabinet approved the regularization of the services of 8886 teachers recruited under Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), as well Adarsh and Model Schools. Approving the Cabinet Sub-committee’s recommendations in this regard, the Cabinet decided to regularise 7356 teachers recruited under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, 1194 under Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, along with 220 for model schools and 116 for Adarsh schools. While the sub-committee suggested these teachers should be absorbed by school education department, and would be paid ₹10,300 per month (initial of the regular pay scale) for three years, the cabinet decided to pay them ₹15,000.

In yet another decision, the cabinet approved the Punjab Ghar Ghar Rozgar and Karobar Mission (PGRAKM), with the Chief Minister to be the Chairman of its Governing Council. The Mission will be registered as a society under societies Registration Act, 1860 that would facilitate every jobseeker in securing wage or self-employment in Punjab, India or abroad. Under the Punjab government’s Ghar Ghar Rozgar flagship program, all the earlier existing employment exchanges in 22 districts have been converted into District Bureau of Employment and Enterprise, working under the registered society with its own budget. – Indian Express