Delhi LG Urges CM Kejriwal To Implement Ayushman Bharat Scheme, Minister Says ‘No Success On Ground’

Delhi Lt Governor V K Saxena has urged Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to implement the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat scheme in the national capital, stating that its non-implementation is causing hardships to economically disadvantaged patients, officials at Raj Niwas disclosed on Sunday, as per news agency PTI. Responding to this, Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj remarked that the Lt Governor appears disconnected from the ground realities.  He stated that the patient influx from neighboring BJP-ruled states’ hospitals is comparable to that of Delhi’s hospitals under Ayushman Bharat.

Saxena has requested the file related to Ayushman Bharat, citing Rule 19(5) of Transaction of Business Rules, and urged the chief minister to expedite the scheme’s implementation for the benefit of the poorest sections, Raj Niwas officials confirmed.

“I am constrained to underline here that an issue as important as the very health of our people seems to have fallen prey to mindless politicking aimed only at one-upmanship and credit grabbing,” Saxena remarked in a file note, as per PTI’s report.

Saxena, in resolving the file, underscored that despite granting in-principle approval for Ayushman Bharat’s implementation in 2018 and announcing it in the 2020 budget, the government had halted its progress. He also highlighted the extensive waiting list for ration card issuance to deserving candidates, some awaiting since 2018. Without such documentation, economically disadvantaged patients with serious illnesses were unable to access health benefits from other available schemes, he noted.

Furthermore, Saxena shed light on the state of public health and government hospitals in Delhi.

“Be it the availability of beds, construction of newer hospitals, or the availability of diagnostic equipment as basic as CT scan machines and irregularities in the functioning of Mohalla clinics, all these leave much to be desired. It goes without saying that GNCTD needs to put its act together, as far as public health is concerned, and any hesitation on the part of the government in accepting schemes/help on part of the Govt of India, because of extraneous irrelevant reasons, will account for nothing less than playing with the critical issue of health and well-being of the people of Delhi,” the LG commented in the file, as per the report.

Saxena stressed the importance of promptly implementing the scheme in Delhi for the populace’s welfare. “Such progressive steps would not only alleviate the financial burden on low-income families and lakhs of migrants but also contribute to the overall well-being and health security of the people of Delhi,” Saxena added in the file note.

The LG pointed out that successive health ministers since 2018 – Satyendar Jain, Manish Sisodia, and Bharadwaj – stalled the file on six occasions “flimsy political pretext” despite the Government of India clarifying that Ayushman Bharat could be suffixed with any name the Delhi government desired.

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LG Boasting About Ayushman Bharat Scheme When There’s No Success On Ground: Delhi Minister Bharadwaj

“In certain hospitals like GB Pant Hospital, almost half of the total number of surgeries performed is on patients from states wherein the Ayushman Bharat scheme is operational, like the BJP-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. It is very sad to see that though the LG is boasting about the Ayushman Bharat scheme, there is practically no success on the ground,” he stated.

Bharadwaj mentioned that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had recently outlined many grave discrepancies in the Ayushman Bharat scheme including invalid names, unrealistic dates of birth, duplicate health IDs, and unrealistic family sizes in the database of Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY).

“The CAG had further reported that ineligible households were found registered as PMJAY beneficiaries and had availed the benefits ranging between Rs 0.12 lakh to Rs 22.44 crore under the scheme,” the minister further said. During the hospital and other healthcare facility inspections, he asked the LG to order the health secretary to go with the health minister.