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Ayushman Bharat picks up pace amid pandemic

AB-PMJAY offers annual cover of up to  ₹5 lakh per family for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization to over 107.4 million poor and vulnerable households, or about 530 million beneficiaries.. Photo: MintPremium
AB-PMJAY offers annual cover of up to 5 lakh per family for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization to over 107.4 million poor and vulnerable households, or about 530 million beneficiaries.. Photo: Mint

  • The record turnouts for registration could be significant for India’s covid-19 vaccination drive, as the beneficiaries will not only enjoy easy access to free treatment, including covid care, but can also get vaccinated for free across all the hospitals empanelled under the scheme

New Delhi: A record 800,000 beneficiaries were added in a single day on 14 March under the 'Aap Ke Dwar Ayushman' campaign of the National Health Authority (NHA), according to the authority.

The previous high was on 10 March when 470,000 beneficiaries registered for the free healthcare scheme under the Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY).

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The record turnouts for registration could be significant for India’s covid-19 vaccination drive, as the beneficiaries will not only enjoy easy access to free treatment, including covid care, but can also get vaccinated for free across all the hospitals empanelled under the scheme.

NHA, the apex agency responsible for the design, roll-out, implementation and management of AB-PMJAY, said 835,089 beneficiaries were verified and issued identity cards in a single day. Though eligible beneficiaries can also walk in to empanelled service providers without a card for free treatment, Ayushman cards give confidence to claim their right to free healthcare services under the scheme, it added.

AB-PMJAY offers annual cover of up to 5 lakh per family for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization to over 107.4 million poor and vulnerable households, or about 530 million beneficiaries.

The scheme provides cashless and paperless access to services at the point of care. Till January, as per the provisional report, over 40,000 beneficiaries were treated for covid-19 under the scheme. Also, over 400,000 diagnostics tests for covid-19 were performed.

The Aap Ke Dwar Ayushman initiative was launched on 1 February to verify eligible beneficiaries for the scheme. The other objective was to create large-scale awareness about the health assurance scheme across India, especially in remote areas. The campaign across Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, among other states, helped register 12 million beneficiaries.

“To serve the beneficiaries, it is very important to identify them and make them aware of the scheme. This year, our target is to register about 50-70 million verified beneficiaries," said Ram Sewak Sharma, chief executive, AB-PMJAY.

Chhattisgarh added 440,000 beneficiaries in a day while Uttar Pradesh reported 164,000 additions. Madhya Pradesh generated 104,000 cards, and Punjab issued 50,000 cards.

To make it a success, NHA officials are conducting aggressive information, education and communication activities to include more beneficiaries. Front line workers, ASHA workers, Arogya Mitras and gram panchayats have been roped in to ensure beneficiaries visit the card generation centres and register themselves for the free healthcare services.

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