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6.5 million beneficiaries missing from Ayushman Bharat first list

Ayushman Bharat provides Rs 5 lakh annual hospitalisation cover for each eligible family listed in the socio-economic caste census (SECC) database

india Updated: Jul 31, 2018 23:37 IST
Rhythma Kaul
Rhythma Kaul
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Ayushman Bharat,Modicare,Uttar Pradesh
Pedestrians and shoppers walk past stores on a street in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India.(Bloomberg)

Around 6.5 million of the 107.4 million poor and vulnerable families eligible for ‘Modicare’ are untraceable, according to estimates of the National Health Agency, which is responsible for implementing the ambitious health insurance scheme.

With an estimated average of five members per family, this makes the transfer of benefits under Ayushman Bharat uncertain for close to 32.5 million people. The national health protection scheme is expected to be launched on August 15.

Ayushman Bharat provides Rs 5 lakh annual hospitalisation cover for each eligible family listed in the socio-economic caste census (SECC) database.

The missing people are in families that have moved since the 2011 Census.

“These are people who were living in a particular state/locality during the 2011 census but their current whereabouts are not known. We have identified 6.5 million such families that are at the moment untraceable,” Indu Bhushan, CEO of Ayushman Bharat, said.

Uttar Pradesh has the most (2.36 million) missing families, followed by Bihar with 2.17 million. All the other states together have 1.94 million families missing from the list. This also fits in with the general pattern of migration.

“Most of the missing people are likely to be migrants who have left the state in search of work. If these people come forward and get themselves identified before the roll-out list is finalised over the next week, we will add them as we cannot deny benefits to eligible people,” Bhushan said.

Apart from the 107.4 million so-called deprived urban and rural families based on the 2011 SECC data, Ayushman Bharat will also provide health insurance coverage to all families receiving benefits under the Rashtriya Swasthya Beema Yojna. Those who are left out in the beneficiary identification scheme will find it difficult to receive the cashless benefit.

The experts agree 100% coverage to all targeted beneficiaries will be a challenge.

“It was going to be challenging, given the extensive coverage the government is trying to provide. RSBY that was started in 2008 with a much lower health cover, is still lagging in 100% enrollment of its targeted beneficiaries in many states. We will have to wait and see,” said Samik Chowdhury, associate professor, Institute of Economic Growth, New Delhi.

First Published: Jul 31, 2018 23:37 IST