Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the world’s largest state-funded health insurance scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, which aims to provide free secondary and tertiary care to 50 crore people across the country.
Calling the scheme a “game changer”, Modi said the plan will change the healthcare scenario in India and will form a model for other countries to follow and replicate. “A government scheme on such a grand scale is not being carried out anywhere in the world. Even the last person standing in the queue should get better health facility. More than 50 crore people will get insurance up to Rs.5 lakh. This is the world’s first such scheme,” Modi said while addressing an enthusiastic crowd in Ranchi’s Prabhat Tara Maidan.
“Some call it Ayushman Bharat, some call it Modicare, but it is a scheme to serve the poor,” the PM said, evoking folk hero Birsa Munda.
Officials said Jharkhand was chosen to launch the scheme as it was one of the most backward states with poor health infrastructure. Around 57 lakh families in Jharkhand will be covered under the scheme. The Centre had identified 25 lakh families in Jharkhand but the CM added another 32 lakh and agreed to bear the additional cost of Rs.540 crore. The Jharkhand government has signed an MoU with National Insurance Company.
Modi said the number of beneficiaries of this scheme was roughly equal to the population of the European Union, or the population of America, Canada and Mexico put together.
Launching a veiled attack on the former UPA government, Modi alleged that health of the poor was ignored for the past 60 years due to vote bank politics. “Those who chant the name of poor, had they done something concrete for them 50 years ago, the situation would have been different. I have lived in poverty and realise the pain of a poor man,” he said.