All of 3 kg, baby Karishma does not know yet that she is on her way to becoming a celebrity.
Born at the Kalpana Chawla government hospital in Karnal on August 17, Karishma now has a new name: Ayushman Bharat baby. Her father Amit Kumar became the first beneficiary of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) when the hospital was reimbursed Rs 9,000 for Karishma’s birth by Caesarean section.
Says Ayushman Bharat CEO Indu Bhusan, “What could be a better omen than starting the pilot with a girl child?”
Haryana started PMJAY pilots in 26 hospitals in the state the same day as they were announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech. Hours later, Mousami, the wife of Amit Kumar, a labourer from Sarpuria village of Karnal, was admitted to the Kalpana Chawla hospital for delivery. Two days later, Karishma was born.
Busy at the hospital on August 15, Amit Kumar didn’t hear Modi’s speech, and has no idea what the scheme is, what his entitlements are and what the fuss is about — particularly as he expected the delivery to be free given that he had gone to a government hospital. A week after Karishma was born, Kumar adds, he was given a piece of paper and told it was his card. Now the vaccinations have begun, and they are free too.
“I am not sure what the scheme they are talking about is… I am happy my daughter was born healthy,” Kumar told The Sunday Express, adding he wanted a girl as he already has a three-year-old son.
Announced in the Union Budget this year as the National Health Protection Mission or Ayushman Bharat, the PMJAY will provide annual health cover of Rs 5 lakh to 10.74 crore families. There is no cap on family size and all pre-existing conditions are covered. Entitlement will be decided on the basis of the 2011 Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data. Pilots have been announced in 106 districts of the country, including all of Haryana, ahead of a countrywide rollout on September 25.
Dr Saket Kumar, CEO of the State Health Agency that is responsible for implementation of the PMJAY in the state, says it was a set of lucky coincidences that made Kumar the first beneficiary. His wife just happened to get admitted on I-Day. “The way the scheme has been structured beneficiaries do not really need to know about their entitlements. All they need to do is approach an Ayushman Mitra (field workers assisting the government) with an identification document — in Kumar’s case it was a ration card — and if his name features on the SECC database, things will automatically set rolling. At present 450 beneficiaries across the state have approached us and there are 35 claims that will be settled in the next one or two days,” Dr Kumar said.
In Haryana, 15.50 lakh families, including 9,25,014 rural households and 6,26,761 urban households, will be entitled to the PMJAY.