NEW DELHI: In a setback to the Modi government’s ambitious Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Scheme (AB-NHPS), two of the BJP-ruled states, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, have expressed “reluctance” to implement the programme.
According to a government official, the states are reluctant as similar projects catering to a much larger population are being run in the states. The AB-NHPS aims at providing a coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually and benefiting more than 10 crore poor families.
The official said that though the Rajasthan government has welcomed the Centre’s scheme, “they are not sure how to implement it as they already have the ongoing Bhamashah Swasthya Bima Yojana, under which cashless healthcare services are provided to around 4.5 crore people”. “Also the contract with the insurance company goes up till the next year. So they are thinking of finding a way to converge the two schemes so that the ongoing scheme is not disturbed,” the official said. Dr Indu Bhushan, the CEO of Ayushman Bharat, discussed the issue with Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje on Friday.
The Maharashtra government has cited lack of funds as the reason for not implementing the scheme. The state government runs Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana, a flagship health insurance scheme under which 2.2 crore people are provided an insurance cover up to Rs 2 lakh.
Odisha has already refused to implement the health programme, saying it already has a scheme with more beneficiaries compared to the AB-NHPS. Punjab and Delhi are yet to give their approval to the AB-NHPS. So far, 25 states and UTs have signed MoUs with the health ministry for implementing the scheme.