LG demands files on Ayushman Bharat, Delhi govt says it’s impractical | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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LG demands files on Ayushman Bharat, Delhi govt says it’s impractical

Feb 26, 2024 05:46 AM IST

The lieutenant governor said that despite giving an in-principle approval for the implementation of the scheme in 2018, it has been inexplicably stalled for political reasons

Lieutenant governor VK Saxena has asked chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to implement the Ayushman Bharat scheme in the national capital and recalled all the files related to it by invoking transaction of the business rules, the LG secretariat officials said on Sunday.

Lieutenant governor VK Saxena recalled all the files related to the Ayushman Bharat scheme by invoking transaction of the business rules. (Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)
Lieutenant governor VK Saxena recalled all the files related to the Ayushman Bharat scheme by invoking transaction of the business rules. (Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)

Saxena has said that despite giving an in-principle approval for the implementation of Ayushman Bharat scheme way back in 2018 and announcing it even in its budget in 2020, the scheme has been inexplicably stalled for political reasons. Eligible applicants are waiting for ration cards to be issued since 2018, and in the absence of such a document, poor, sick patients are suffering from serious ailments and cannot avail of health benefits under other available schemes, he has further said in a note.

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Reacting to the development, the office of the health minister in a statement said that the revelations of ineligible beneficiaries reaping benefits from PMJAY has been exposed by a recent report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). “CAG has recently highlighted many grave discrepancies... including invalid names, unrealistic dates of birth, duplicate health IDs and unrealistic family sizes, in the database of Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY),” the statement added.

“LG does not know that at most of the hospitals in Delhi, especially GTB Hospital & LBS Hospital and RTRM Hospital, which are situated either at the border of the BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and the BJP-ruled Haryana, the patient load from these BJP-ruled neighbouring states is comparable to the patient load from Delhi in these hospitals. In certain hospitals like GB Pant Hospital, almost half of the total number of surgeries performed is on patients from states wherein the Ayushman Bharat scheme is operational, like the BJP-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana,” the statement added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi rolled out the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) in February 2018. The insurance scheme aims to provide an annual health cover of 5 lakh per family for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation. The implementation of the scheme in Delhi has been a point of contention between the central government and the state. In August 2018, the government provided an in-principle approval to the scheme with a rider that it be renamed as Mukhya Mantri Aam Aadmi Swasthaya Beema Yojana. The Centre and state share the expenses of the scheme in the ratio of 60:40.

In his note, LG has added that the successive health ministers since 2018 on six occasions stalled the file on political pretext, despite the fact that their aim of seeking credit was addressed right in the beginning, with the Centre clarifying that “Ayushman Bharat” could be suffixed with any name that the Delhi government wanted.

Delhi health minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said, “It is a well-known fact that private hospitals are reluctant to work at CGHS/DGEHS rates and reputed private hospitals having super-speciality services are not empanelled under the schemes. Even the empanelled CGHS/DGEHS private hospitals refuse to provide beds to patients requiring critical care. It is pertinent to mention that Ayushmann Bharat rates are substantially lower than CGHS/DGEHS rates. This makes the Ayushman Bharat scheme an impractical scheme. Moreover, the existing eligibility criteria of the Ayushman Bharat scheme is such that most of the residents of Delhi would not be eligible for availing the benefits of the said scheme — a person having a pucca roof or a two-wheeler.”

LG has recalled the files pertaining to the scheme under Section 19(5) of Transactions of Business Rules, 1993. The special rule empowers LG to recall files “pending inordinately” with ministers and the chief minister “in public interest” and forces the state government to send files to LG, irrespective of whether they approved it or not. In the past, LG invoked similar powers in cases of approvals to fell trees for infrastructure projects pending with the state environment ministry and removal of encroachments in the form of religious structures.

In his note on the scheme, Saxena has said: “I have perused the file relating to Ayushman Bharat Health Insurance Scheme, and express my deep concern at the undue delay in the implementation of the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, in the process creating unmitigated problems for the poorest of the poor in the Union Territory. My secretariat, is constantly in receipt of requests and applications for financial aid for health purposes, almost entirely from the economically weakest sections, comprising drivers, maids, vendors and daily wage earners, who are not able to avail of secondary and tertiary health services because of lack of a ration card or a voter ID in Delhi and because they do not have the Ayushman registration either.”

Saxena has written that other states have implemented AB-PMJAY and over 25 crore Ayushman cards have been generated. He has outlined that over the last six years, various health minister have delayed the implementation of the scheme. “Such progressive steps would not only alleviate the financial burden on low-income families and lakhs of migrants, but also contribute to the overall well-being and health security of the people of Delhi. It would be a significant stride towards achieving the goal of universal healthcare access, aligning with the principles of inclusivity and social justice that our constitutional democracy stands for,” he said.

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