MoUs for ‘Ayushman Bharat’ signed, Punjab backs out

Even as four north Indian states, including Himachal Pradesh, and one Union Territory signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Centre…

MoUs for ‘Ayushman Bharat’ signed, Punjab backs out

Union health and family welfare minister, JP Nadda.

Even as four north Indian states, including Himachal Pradesh, and one Union Territory signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Centre for implementation of ‘Ayushman Bharat’, a flagship scheme of Modi government, in the presence of Union health and family welfare minister, JP Nadda here on Monday, Punjab chose to back out.

“We have some reservations. Punjab government is running some health insurance schemes. We are yet to study the convergence of existing schemes with this one. We also have issues about 60:40 ratio of funding by Centre,” Punjab health and family welfare minister, Brahm Mohindra told media persons here.

He said Punjab government has recently changed Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, so things could not be co-ordinated.


Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Swasthya Suraksha Mission- provides defined health benefit cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year to poor people. The benefits are portable, applicable across the country along with cashless benefits from any public or private hospitals.

The Punjab Health minister, who participated in the workshop held for northern states in Shimla, along with Health ministers from Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and officials from UT, Chandigarh put forth his issues in his brief speech earlier.

However, immediately as the dignitaries prepared to sign MoUs, Mohindra left the venue, conveying his dissent to Nadda personally.

“I have spoken to the Union health minister. He has invited me to Delhi to discuss the issues in detail,” the Punjab minister said. “We are not averse to the new scheme. It is a matter of time. Let them address our objections first,” he said.

Even in his address earlier, Mohindra referred to various health insurance schemes being run in Punjab and said the government visualises to provide universal health insurance scheme to the entire population in the state and officials are working on scheme design.

“Now the GoI has announced ‘Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Mission’ and the ministry has shared documentation with states. We are exploring possibilities of synergistic amalgamation of our intended universal health protection programme with Central scheme,” the Punjab minister said.

Union health minister, Nadda said Ayushman Bharat is the brainchild of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who wants to reach out to the poorest of the poor with health insurance benefits.

He said the Modi government had changed scenario in the health sector and for the first time, the focus will now be on prevention, than cure.

“While we have strengthened the tertiary health care and other health institutions, our priority is prevention. There are 1.5 lakh health sub-centres, which will be converted to wellness centers by 2022. This will help in detecting the disease at first stage,” he said.

He said that Universal Health Check-up would be ensured of all the people before they attain 30 years of age. Nadda said the MoUs between the five states would go a long way in providing health cover to the masses.

Five such workshops would be held throughout the country to launch the ambitious central scheme.