Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday kickstarted the distribution of PMJAY-MA Yojana Ayushman cards in Gujarat via video conferencing. Modi also interacted with the beneficiaries of PMJAY-MA Yojana Ayushman cards via video conferencing. One such beneficiary, Piyushbhai from Tuwar, said that the Ayushman Bharat scheme had given him a new lease of life. The PM assured him that the government will always take care of everyone like him.
Modi expressed happiness that women were taking advantage of the scheme and said it was a matter of great delight that such a mega event about public health was taking place just before Dhanteras and Diwali. He noted the coincidence that Dhanteras is at hand and Lord Dhanvantari, who is considered to be the originator of Ayurveda, is worshipped on the occasion. Quoting the Shastras, Modi recited, “Arogyam Paramam Bhagyaam”, and expressed happiness that under the leadership of Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, an event of such massive scale was taking place to give Arogya Dhan to lakhs of people of Gujarat.
Referring to the spirit of ‘Sarve Santu Niramaya’ (may all be free of diseases), the PM said Ayushman Yojana aims for health for all. He appreciated the enormity of the campaign of distributing 50 lakh cards to the people in the state. “We have been hearing about health insurance in many countries of the world but India is going beyond that, ensuring health assurance,” Modi said.
He also highlighted the changed political thinking and work culture. “It was necessary to change this situation and we took the lead in this change. Today, when planning is done, we first study the condition of common citizens and study their needs,” he said. “Our schemes today directly address the needs of the common citizens. When citizens of the country are empowered, then the country becomes powerful. That’s why we have focussed on empowering the common citizen, especially the women of the country,” he said.
The PM informed that so far, around four crore poor patients have availed the benefit of Arogya under this scheme across the country. He further added that out of this, about 50 lakh poor patients are from Gujarat. Modi said that the government has spent crores of rupees for the treatment of these beneficiaries. Noting that the money would have been spent from the pockets of the beneficiaries if they had to get treatment outside this scheme, the PM expressed satisfaction that half of the beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat were women.
“Ayushman Bharat Yojana has also liberated poor mothers and sisters from this problem. Simply speaking, an Ayushman card is a Rs 5-lakh ATM. This is an ATM card that will keep giving benefits every year,” Modi said.
He further explained the benefit that if a person lives for 30-40 years, there will be a guarantee of Rs 1.5-2 crore worth of treatment over that period. “Ayushman card will be your true friend, the biggest troubleshooter,” he added.
As the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi had started the ‘Mukhyamantri Amrutam (MA)’ scheme in 2012 to shield poor citizens from the catastrophic costs of medical treatment and illness. In the year 2014, ‘MA’ Yojana was extended to cover families with an annual income limit of Rs 4 lakh. The scheme was further extended to several other groups as well and later rebranded as Mukhyamantri Amrutam Vatsalya (MAV) Yojana.
Drawing from the experience of the success of this scheme, Modi launched the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) in 2018 — the largest health insurance scheme in the world providing coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for primary, secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation without any cap on the family size and age. With the launch of the AB-PMJAY, Gujarat integrated MA / MAV Yojana with the AB-PM-JAY scheme in 2019 with the name PMJAY-MA Yojana and the beneficiaries under MA/MAV and AB-PMJAY became eligible for co-branded PMJAY-MA cards.
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