The Narendra Modi government claims that 10.74 crore out of a total of 24.49 crore families will be covered under the ambitious Ayushman Bharat Yojana, providing universal access to quality healthcare without the financial burden. The National Democratic Alliance government says it’s set to create history with the scheme’s implementation. Prime Minister Modi has already declared Ayushman Bharat to be the world’s biggest health insurance scheme of its kind.
Under the scheme, 76 per cent of beneficiaries will be from rural areas and 22 per cent from urban areas. While the central government will provide 60 per cent of the financial assistance, the states have been asked to contribute the remaining 40 per cent.
We went through the details of Ayushman Bharat Yojana to find out who can avail of it and, more importantly, who all have been excluded from the list.
The prime minister’s pilot project will cover SC/ST households, those living in only one room with kucha walls and a kucha roof, and landless households who earn from manual casual labour. The project will also automatically include households without shelter, destitutes, manual scavenger families, primitive tribal groups, and legally-rescued bonded labour. The list exhaustively details potential beneficiaries in both rural and urban areas.
However, the exclusion list of families prepared based on data from the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC), 2011, includes a section of people who were hoping to avail themselves of the benefits of the scheme. Surprisingly, according to the guidelines issued, even those owning a fridge or a landline phone appear in the exclusion list. Households having Kisan credit cards with a credit limit above ₹50,000—which is a big chunk of small-scale farmers—don’t qualify. The list goes on.
This begs the question: after accounting for all those excluded, who exactly benefits from the scheme? For instance, all SC/ST families are on the beneficiary list, as are families of manual scavengers. But they could be excluded if they own a refrigerator or a landline or earn ₹10,000 a month.
So is the Modi government right in claiming that Ayushman Bharat Yojana will cover 50 crore people in India? Or are we assuming that nearly 50 crore people in India have no access to refrigerators, motorcycles or even a water pump?
To know more, watch the video.