Cellphone numbers of beneficiaries of the National Health Protection Mission (NHPM) will be their identification for the scheme — they will be enough to get any family member of the beneficiary admitted in hospital under the scheme.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the first health and wellness centre when he goes to Bijapur, Chhattisgarh, on Ambedkar Jayanti (April 14), officially inaugurating Ayushman Bharat. In a bid to generate awareness about the programme, Ayushman Bharat Diwas will be observed on April 30.
While entitlement under NHPM will be based on data from Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC), the Health Ministry has tied up with Ministries of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj for verification of SECC data, identification of beneficiaries, and seeding of mobile numbers in the data, an official said.
The need to link NHPM entitlement arose because Aadhaar is still under the scrutiny of Supreme Court, the official said.
Announced in the Budget this year, Ayushman Bharat comprises a preventive component and the much-publicised NHPM, approved by the Union Cabinet last month. An annual health cover of Rs 5 lakh will be provided to 10.74 crore families under NHPM – there is no cap on family size. Families will be eligible for the scheme based on deprivation and occupational criteria as per SECC data.
A senior Health Ministry official said, “The purpose of Ayushman Bharat Diwas is to generate awareness about the programme, beneficiary verification, and generation of additional data. The mobile numbers of all 10.74 crore NHPM beneficiaries will be seeded in the system. At the time of hospitalisation, their data will be accessed through their mobile numbers – that will be their identification number for the purposes of NHPM.”
Stating that beneficiaries will have to show some identification document, the official said that since cellphone numbers do not change often these days with number portability, “we have decided to use that (phone number) as beneficiary identity”. This is what happens with most FMCG companies, or direct-to-home cable service providers.