New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi could launch Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Scheme (AB-NHPS) on the occasion of India's 72nd Independence Day celebrations on Wednesday.
While the world's largest government-funded public health insurance scheme may first be launched only on a pilot basis in some states, the full-scale launch is expected towards the end of September. The announcement though could come from the ramparts of Red Fort during PM Modi's Independence Day speech. "Providing health care insurance cover to 50 crore Indians cannot be a simple on and off switch process. We have been working on it for the last four months and I think that tomorrow (Wednesday), the PM could speak on the matter," Indu Bhushan, the CEO of Ayushman Bharat scheme, told Zee News.
The extremely-ambitious scheme is expected to cover approximately 50 crore people across the country and would primarily target deprived families in rural India. A cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per annum would be provided. The objective is to cover 10 crore families by 2020 and a budget of Rs 10,000 crore has been allocated by the Centre for it although it has not yet been released to the states.
And not all states are on board.
News agency PTI quoted a government official as saying that while Punjab, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi are yet to come on board, Odisha has refused to be a part of the scheme. It is also reported that 22 states have preferred to run the scheme on 'trust basis.'
Meanwhile, the health ministry has reportedly included 1,354 packages in the scheme and would cover treatment for coronary bypass, knee replacements and stenting, along with many others.