Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ambitious Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) from Jharkhand’s Ranchi on Sunday.

Deemed the “world’s largest government funded healthcare programme”, the AB-PMJAY is will target more than 50 crore beneficiaries and provide a cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation through a network of Empanelled Health Care Providers (EHCP).

Speaking at event, the PM said that the number of beneficiaries is equivalent to the total population of United States, Canada and Mexico or the entire European Union.

“This is a major step taken to fulfil the vision of providing better healthcare facilities to the poorest of the poor and to those standing last in the queue,” the PM said.

Following the launch, the PM informed the gathering that the scheme covers diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, kidney and liver problems, diabetes and over 1300 various ailments.

“The treatment of the diseases can not only be done in government hospitals but also private hospitals,” said the PM adding that 13,000 hospitals around the country have become part of the Ayushman Bharat scheme.

He said that beneficiaries can dial 14555 or go to nearest common service centre to know more about the scheme. The PM underlined that people in States connected to the Ayushman Bharat scheme can avail of the facility under the scheme in any state.

Referring to the first Health and Wellness Centre launched by him at Jangla in Chhattisgarh on 14 April, the PM pointed out that the first phase of the scheme began on the birthday of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar. He said along the same lines the PMJAY has been launched two days before the birthday of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya.

The PM expressed hope that the efforts of medical personnel, ASHA workers and beneficiaries associated with the scheme will make it a success.

Besides Ayushman Bharat, the PM also launched 10 health and wellness centres in Jharkhand in the presence of Governor Draupadi Murmu and Chief Minister Raghubar Das.

The PM also distributed e-card, a unique health identity card, to the beneficiaries of the scheme. He also visited an exhibition on the sidelines of the event.

What is PMJAY?

Ayushman Bharat has two components – creation of 150,000 health and wellness centres which will provide Comprehensive Primary Health Care (CPHC) and the PMJAY which provides health protection cover to poor and vulnerable families for secondary and tertiary care.

PMJAY primarily targets the poor, deprived rural families and identified occupational category of urban workers’ families as per the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data for both rural and urban areas as well as the active families under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY).

States have the option to use an existing trust/society or set up a new trust/society to implement the scheme as State Health Agency and will be free to choose the modalities for implementation.

It can implement the Scheme through an insurance company or directly through the Trust/Society/Implementation Support Agency or a mixed approach.

Pilot launch of the scheme has already started in around 22 states and Union Territories and so far 30 states and union territories have signed a Memorandum of Understanding and started working on implementation of the mission.

(With inputs from agencies.)