Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan today expressed deep anguish at the reply of Shri Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi which was released on social media asserting that Delhi Government shall not implement Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) in Delhi. In a letter written to the Chief Minister of Delhi today, Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that the response shows that the Chief Minister is least interested in the welfare of the people of Delhi. He further said that the claim that the Delhi Government is implementing free health care and, therefore, need not implement Ayushman Bharat is baseless. “All your fancy schemes, including the much-touted Universal Coverage Health Scheme, announced more than a year ago, are still lying on the drawing boards awaiting implementation even after four and a half years. Your Mohalla Clinics are an utter flop and the drastic neglect of patient care in Delhi government hospitals is there for all to see,” the Union Health Minister elaborated in his reply.
The Union Health Minister again extended the invitation to the Chief Minister to work together for the larger good of the people of Delhi and the country. “Be part of the historical health sector revolution that has been visualised by our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji. Ayushman Bharat is the world’s most ambitious and largest free government healthcare program. Let us join hands to celebrate each milestone in the journey towards New India,” Dr Harsh Vardhan has written.
Refuting the statements of the Chief Minister of Delhi further, Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that while all States can claim to be providing free health care through government hospitals, in reality, citizens still have to spend a lot from their pocket to get the so-called “free treatment”.“PMJAY targets almost 30 lakh (15% of total population) persons in Delhi who are most poor and vulnerable. You have also mentioned that the income criterion of Rs. 10,000 per month is less than the minimum wages in Delhi but I want to correct you that this criterion of Rs. 10,000 per month was used on data collected in 2011 and therefore, such families which were earning less than Rs. 10,000 per month in 2011 are eligible under the scheme” Dr Harsh Vardhan added. He further said that the families were identified from SECC data based on specific criteria as per conditions existing in 2011 and therefore these families are most vulnerable and need special attention. “You should know that in 2011 minimum wages in Delhi stood at a mere Rs. 6,656 for unskilled workers and Rs. 8,112 for skilled. These eligible families are the most vulnerable ones and therefore, need maximum support”, he added.
Disproving the claim of Chief Minister on unlimited cover being provided under the “free health scheme of Delhi Government”, Dr. Harsh Vardhan stated that unlimited cover has no meaning if people still have to pay to get the treatment. “PMJAY insurance cover of Rs. 5 lakh per year is good. In 8 months of implementation of PMJAY, only 10 families out of almost 10.74 crore families have exhausted this cover,” the Union Health Minister asserted.
Dr Harsh Vardhan further said that proposed scheme of Delhi Government can be linked with PMJAY for enhanced cover for the poor and vulnerable population of Delhi as they will not only get ready access to private hospitals but will also be able to get benefits across the country. “Since you are anyway providing OPD cover through your proposed scheme, linking with PM-JAY for in-patient cover will be a boon for the poor and vulnerable population of Delhi as they will not only get ready access to private hospitals but will also be able to get benefits across the country. You can even expand PM-JAY to cover more beneficiaries as has been done by many other States”, he added.