Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government would launch on September 25 the ambitious Ayushman Bharat healthcare scheme which aims at benefiting 50 crore Indians. In his last Independence Day address ahead of the next Lok Sabha election, Modi asserted his government has been working for the last four years to empower the poor and it will launch the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aroyga Abhiyan on the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay on September 25. The ambitious Ayushman Bharat scheme, touted as the world's largest healthcare scheme, aims to provide a coverage of Rs5 lakh per family annually, benefiting more than 10 crore poor families.
The government decided to start the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aroyga Abhiyan in order to provide good healthcare facilities to the poor and common people, so that they receive free health facilities in big hospitals and also for serious ailments. The Ayushman Bharat is a scheme of giving health assurance to 10 crore families or around 50 crore Indians of this country who will be given Rs5 lakh cover per year, he said.
"On September 25, on the birth anniversary of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhay, it will be launched in the entire country. The result of this will be that the poor man will not suffer from illness, he will not have to borrow money (for his treatment). "It will open new avenues of employment for youths and people from middle class. New hospitals will open," he said.
The scheme aims to target the poor, deprived rural families and identified an occupational category of urban workers' families, 8.03 crore in rural and 2.33 crore in urban areas, as per the latest Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) data.
Observing that not many people know how big the scheme is, the prime minister said if the population of the entire US, Canada and Mexico is put together, approximately that many people will benefit from the scheme. He said bringing poor people out of poverty and empowering them is the remedy and his government has stressed on doing that in the last four years.
"None of the poor wants to continue living in poverty neither they want to die in poverty. To bring them out of this poverty and to empower them is the remedy. In the last four years, we have stressed on empowering the poor," he said. He also referred to a report of an international agency in which they it has stated that in the last two years, in India, five crore people have come out poverty line.
"When we do work to empower the poor and talk of Ayushman Bharat, what is 10 crore, what is 50 crore, not many people will know how big this scheme is. "If I put together the population of US, Canada and Mexico, approximately that many number of people are beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat scheme. If I put together the entire population of Europe, then approximately that many beneficiaries are there in this scheme," he said.
According to the official, as many as 22 states have preferred to run the scheme on "trust model".
The Centre has allocated about Rs10,000 crore for the project. The Health Ministry has launched a formal process to empanel public and private hospitals to achieve universal health coverage under the programme.