Ayushman Bharat in M'rashtra a cruel joke, says Chavan

Ayushman Bharat in M'rashtra a cruel joke, says Chavan

Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Ashok Chavan addresses a press conference in Mumbai on Saturday. PTI

Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Ayushman Bharat programme.

He claimed that the scheme’s launch in Maharashtra is part of, a yet another attempt by the NDA government to rename Congress-launched programmes without making any substantial improvements to their funding or coverage.

“The BJP-Shiv Sena government renamed the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Yojana as the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (MJPJAY) last year, and is now launching Ayushman Bharat this year as part of the repeated PR stunts being played in the name of healthcare across the country,” Chavan, former chief minister of Maharashtra said.

The Devendra Fadnavis-led government in the state has consistently cut spending on healthcare over the course of its three years in office in attempts to reduce revenue expenditure and control the revenue deficit, he said.

"The state government cut MJPJAY’s spending by nearly 50% in 2018‐19 compared to last year, and allocated only Rs 576 crores against an outlay of Rs 1,316 crores last year. However, as the recent visit by the finance commission has shown, the economic health of Maharashtra has only steadily declined with revenue receipts showing massive drops in growth levels and the revenue deficit rising unchecked," Chavan pointed out.

“This government can no longer continue to deceive the people by showcasing grand schemes while cutting actual allocation to healthcare,” Chavan said.

“Healthcare infrastructure of Maharashtra is crumbling. No funds have been allocated towards improving government-run hospitals and medical facilities. Ayushman Bharat in Maharashtra is a cruel joke being played against the state’s most underprivileged citizens," he said. 

Annual premiums, currently at Rs 700 per family under the MJPJAY (originally the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Yojana), are set to rise to almost Rs 2000 per family under the Ayushman Bharat scheme.

MJPJAY covers about 2.24-crore families in 492 empaneled hospitals, providing a benefit cover of Rs 1.5-lakh per family per annum.

Ayushman Bharat proposes to cover only 84-lakh families in the state and has come at the cost of spending allocated to MJPJAY.

Chavan pointed to the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Yojana, which had a grievance redressal rate of 88.22% in 2015, as a successful model that needed to be strengthened through increased central funding.

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