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PM Narendra Modi to write to 90 mn Ayushman Bharat beneficiaries, BJP MPs to seek feedback

The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), or Ayushman Bharat, provides financial protection to deprived rural and urban families found eligible under categories defined by the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data. This comes to approximately 500 million beneficiaries.

lok sabha elections Updated: Jan 29, 2019 09:12 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Ayushman Bharat,PM Modi,Modi letter
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will write to 90 mn beneficiaries of the Ayushman Bharat scheme while all BJP MPs have been asked to take feedback from people who have availed of the scheme (File Photo) (HT PHOTO)

Members of Parliament from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will write letters to beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat to seek feedback on the Union government’s flagship health insurance scheme and record at least five video testimonials each for use in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections campaign, according to two party functionaries familiar with the matter.

This will be in addition to about 90 million personalised letters that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will write to those who are covered under the scheme.

Ayushman Bharat CEO Dr Indu Bhushan told news agency IANS that the two-page letter from Modi is addressed to the beneficiaries across all the states, and written in eight languages.

Experts see both these exercises as key outreach programmes by the BJP ahead of Modi’s re-election bid.

“We have shared the format of the letter that MPs need to write to those in their constituencies who have availed benefits under this scheme,” said one of the BJP leaders cited above who asked not to be named.

“The idea is to apprise the beneficiary that they got treated under a scheme that Modi has launched to insulate the underprivileged families from exorbitant medical expenses,” said a second BJP leader, also speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), or Ayushman Bharat, provides financial protection to deprived rural and urban families found eligible under categories defined by the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data. This comes to approximately 500 million beneficiaries. The scheme offers a cover of ₹500,000 per family per year to approximately 107.4 million families.

Till Jan 22, over 900,000 people were admitted in different hospitals for treatment under this scheme and over 8 million e-cards were issued to beneficiaries.

“Beneficiaries of government schemes are central to BJP’s campaign for 2019 parliamentary election. Never before has such a large number of people benefitted from different government schemes,” the second leader said.

The BJP claims over 220 million people have benefitted from at least one government scheme in the last five years.

“Our campaign for 2019 is based on the premise that those who benefitted from government schemes will tend to vote Modi back to power...,” the first leader said.

The BJP came to power in 2014 winning 282 seats, and polled over 170 million votes. BJP leaders contend they can cross the 2014 figure if the beneficiaries come out in large number to vote for it.

Political expert Sidharth Mishra said the exercise aims at garnering support for Modi’s bid for another term. “It remains to be seen whether voting preference of these beneficiaries is entirely guided by government benefits they received during the last five years...”

First Published: Jan 29, 2019 07:08 IST

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