Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) at a public rally in Jharkhand on September 23. However, of the 29 states on board, about 22 may see rollout of the scheme.
The decision on the launch venue has been taken keeping in mind the state of preparedness of the state and also a clear directive from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) that the event should not be held in one of the three poll-bound states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
The event was initially supposed to be organised at a district hospital, but sources in the state health agency say arrangements are now afoot to hold it at a big ground “that can hold sufficient people”. The Prime Minister will announce some other schemes too for the state on the occasion, the sources said.
Though there were three contenders — Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand — to host the high-profile launch, Jharkhand, sources said, has been given the formal go-ahead. Officers, however, said it is the prerogative of the PMO to change the venue.
PMJAY, announced in the Union Budget this year as the National Health Protection Mission, will provide an annual health cover of Rs 5 lakh to 10.74 crore families. In his Independence Day speech, Modi rechristened the scheme as Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyan — since then the name has been changed again to PMJAY — and also said that the national rollout would happen on September 25. Modi also announced pilots in several districts.
PMJAY is the tertiary healthcare arm of the NDA’s flagship health programme Ayushman Bharat. The preventive healthcare arm — with a target of setting up 1,53,000 health and wellness centres — was inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi in Chhattisgarh in April. So far, about 2,200 of these centres have become functional. That was also the reason why among poll-bound states, the only one truly in contention for the launch event on the birthday of ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay was Madhya Pradesh — Rajasthan joined the scheme too late because of logistical constraints and Chhattisgarh had already hosted one big Ayushman Bharat event.
So far, 29 states have signed the memoranda of understanding with the National Health Agency for the implementation of PMJAY. However, sources said, not all of them may be in a position to be a part of the rollout by the September 25. “We are hoping about 22-23 states would be on board and in a situation to start the scheme by September 25. Others would start it as and when the hospital empanelment and other formalities are completed,” said a source.
Among districts where the PMJAY pilots are currently on are Mewat, Palwal and Charki Dadri in Haryana, Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh, Patna in Bihar, Dimapur and Kohima in Nagaland, West Tripura, Badgam in Meghalaya and Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh. In most states, including Haryana where the first beneficiary of the scheme gave birth last month to a girl at a government hospital in Karnal, the initial rollout will happen in government hospitals. Chhattisgarh, however, is the rare state where pilots are happening through empanelled private hospitals. Government hospitals have been told that it is “desirable” that PMJAY beneficiaries be prioritised.