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NEW DELHI : With the covid pandemic settling down, the National Health Authority (NHA) may see a nominal increase in fund allocation in the upcoming union budget for 2023.

NHA is the apex implementing agency of Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY). In 2021-22, it got 6,400 crore.

“This time, we have proposed an increased allocation of approx. 400-500 cr in the total budget allocation for PM-JAY. This is for better utilization of the scheme in the states and UTs. It is for the first time that this year PM-JAY has utilized more than 4,100 crore fund from its allocated budget, which is the highest utilization so far," said a government official requesting anonymity adding that a proposal has been sent to the health ministry on this.

Previously, the fund utilization was less than 3,000 crore, said the official. Queries emailed to health ministry spokesperson went unanswered.

PM-JAY offers 1,949 treatment procedures across 27 medical specialties. So far, over 42 million hospital admissions amounting to around 48,865 crore have been authorized under the scheme while 200 million Ayushman cards have been issued. “States like UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, North-eastern states etc need a greater push for Ayushman card drive and more ground- level activities are required to mobilize public. Besides, greater efforts to bring private hospitals on board," the official said.

“The private sector hospitals have about 85% of critical care beds and unless these hospitals come forward and empanel in PMJAY, the real benefit of scheme will not reach to the underprivileged population for which scheme was envisaged," said Dr Girdhar Gyani, president of Association Healthcare Providers of India.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Priyanka Sharma

Priyanka Shamra is a health and pharma journalist with nearly nine years of field reporting experience. She is a special correspondent with Mint. Her beat includes covering the Ministry of Health and Department of Pharmaceuticals. She also covers the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Department of Biotechnology.
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