Prime Minister Narendra Modi has framed his government’s flagship health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat as an employment opportunities boost in recent remarks.
Within the next five to seven years, eleven lakh jobs will be generated by the initiative – officially known as the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) – the Prime Minister anticipated earlier this week. He was speaking at an event to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the scheme’s launch.
“The enormity of the figure can be gauged by the fact that only the Railways generate employment more than this,” he said. “In the coming time, many new hospitals will be set up and employment opportunities will increase.”
The Prime Minister touted the scheme’s reported success in reducing out-of-pocket expenditures on healthcare costs, with families covered under the PMJAY reportedly saving more than Rs 12,000 on such spending. Modi recently praised Ayushman Bharat at the United Nations General Assembly, where he mentioned it as a key component of guaranteeing affordable healthcare – one of the four pillars of India’s push towards universal health coverage.
Modi termed the scheme a garibon ki jai (‘victory for the poor’) and described it as “an extension of the government’s thinking under which we are working in totality instead of piecemeal approach to deal with India’s problems and challenges. Ayushman Bharat ensures better treatment to patients in any part of the country.” He called it “a huge success of Ayushman India” that out-of-pocket spending is down.
India aims to become a US$5 trillion economy, with talks of a jobs boon under Ayushman Bharat indicating the scheme constitutes part of the government’s roadmap not only for healthcare but the broader economy of India. Modi has spoken of the potential of start-ups, with one field of innovation for them being health – to which end the Prime Minister has encouraged them to become part of Ayushman Bharat.
“The first year of Ayushman Bharat has been about resolution, dedication and mutual learning,” Modi said. “This dedication belongs to every state and Union Territory of the country. We are running the world’s largest healthcare scheme successfully in India due to our determination.”