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Ayushman Bharat: 1.3 lakh Indians eligible in Pune, but rollout stalled?

The Kamla Nehru Hospital in Pune, Maharashtra. Reports suggest the city is facing implementation difficulties when it comes to the government’s flagship health insurance scheme, Ayushman Bharat. Image credit: Miteshbhodia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]
Ayushman Bharat has helped more than 41 lakh Indians, but a significant proportion of the population in Pune is missing out according to recent reports. 

The city is home to 1.31 lakh individuals eligible for cover under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), but only forty percent can avail coverage. This is due to a delay in letters being sent to beneficiaries by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) according to The Times of India. Commissioner Saurabh Rao has ordered the delivery of the letters be expedited so that beneficiaries can avail coverage as soon as possible. 

“We have received letters in the names of these 1.31 lakh beneficiaries issued by the Union government,” said Ramchandra Hankare, chair of the PMC health departments. “These letters needed to be categorized in 15 wards, as per the beneficiaries’ addresses, and delivered to their homes. This took some time. These letters are like identity cards for the beneficiaries.”

Issues with implementation have dogged rollout of the PMJAY in multiple states. Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted issues in Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Nagaland, and Sikkim whilst awareness among eligible beneficiaries fluctuates between states. Some, such as Bihar and Haryana, have awareness rates of less than twenty percent. Chief executive officer of the National Health Authority Dr Indu Bhushan has called for efforts to be made to ensure beneficiaries are made aware of the initiative so that they can begin to avail benefits. 

Ayushman Bharat is considered the world’s largest health scheme, aiming to provide health insurance coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family per year to economically vulnerable Indians. The one-year anniversary of the scheme’s national launch will be observed this month, with Ayushman Bharat Diwas being observed to commemorate it. In the preceding weeks, state-level events will be conducted to bolster awareness among targeted beneficiaries.  

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