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Ayushman Bharat

Ayushman Bharat or Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana launched in 2018 has recently completed one year.

What is Ayushman Bharat scheme?

1. It is a centrally sponsored scheme under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).

2. Its objective is to make interventions in primary, secondary and tertiary health care systems and address health care in a holistic manner.

3. It is a pan-India health scheme aimed at providing medical care facilities to poor and vulnerable families.

4. It consists of two initiatives – Health and Wellness Centres and National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS).

5. NHPS is formed by combining various schemes like Rashtriya Swasthya Bimba Yojana, Senior citizen health insurance scheme, Central Government health scheme, etc.

Which are its features?

National Health Protection Scheme

1. It will provide coverage up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.

2. It will cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families.

3. Benefits of the scheme are portable across the country.

4. The beneficiary is allowed to take cashless benefits from any public or private empanelled hospitals across the country.

5. It aims to cover almost all secondary and many tertiary hospitalizations.

Wellness centers

1. It aims to create 1.5 lakh centres to provide comprehensive health care.

2. The Government will upgrade existing Public Health Centres to Wellness Centres.

3. They provide various services like pregnancy care, infant health services, child health, communicable and non-communicable diseases, etc.

How successful is the scheme?

1. It is now a nationwide scheme. Only 4 UT/states- Delhi, Odisha, West Bengal and Telangana have not yet joined the scheme.

2. Almost 11 crore beneficiaries have received their e-cards, which is 1/5th of the total beneficiaries. These are individual cards.

3. Almost 48 lakh beneficiaries have sort care in hospitals in this 1 year.

4. 18,000+ hospitals have been engaged including private hospitals as well.

5. The program promotes cooperative federalism as both Centre and State are implementing it together.

6. But several states still need to improve awareness about the scheme in a significant way.

7. A mobile app for the scheme has been launched which will provide information about the beneficiaries, benefits under the scheme, etc.

8. The pan-India nature of the scheme has made the portability feature effective and State level schemes cannot provide such a feature.

9. The scheme has been made IT-enabled and has been using artificial intelligence as well, creating new job opportunities.

10. The payments under the scheme are completed within a month.

Continued success of the scheme depends on various stakeholders including the Central Government, State Governments, empanelled hospitals and awareness of the beneficiaries.