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Initiatives to increase the benefits of Ayushman Bharat scheme
Since the beginning of the Ayushman Bharat Scheme, there were problems in identifying the beneficiaries in urban areas, due to which, the government was not able to get the required number of eligible beneficiaries.

Since the beginning of the plan, the measures to increase the number of beneficiaries are being considered. In this context, the representatives of the government have proposed to enter into an agreement with 21 private companies including Amazon, Flipkart, Swiggy and Zomato, so that the benefits of this scheme could be extended to thousands of employees working there.

It is worth mentioning that the agreement with Uber India has been tied up to give the benefit of Ayushman Bharat scheme. Under this, the company will identify the partner drivers who will be eligible to take advantage of this scheme. Health insurance plans will be offered to eligible drivers and they will be provided insurance cover of rupees 5 lakh per annum.

According to an estimate more than 3 million employees are working in these companies. If workers including drivers, delivery boys and people who are maintaining Godown etc.  meet the requirements of this scheme, then the Ayushman Bharat scheme can get eligible beneficiaries of about 1.5 Cr. This figure is based on assumption of average of five members in a family. According to Ayushman Bharat scheme, so far 20 million health cards have been issued and in the coming three months there is a target of issuing three crore more cards, which can be completed by contracting with private companies.

According to Pradip Parmeshwaran, Chief Executive Officer of Uber India, his 40 per cent partner driver and his family are entitled to receive Gold Card under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme. According to Shri Indu Bhushan, Chief Executive Officer of Ayushman India-National Health Authority, the Government wants to extend this scheme to 500 million people of the country, but in urban areas the number of beneficiaries is lesser than rural areas.

By the way, it is a challenging task for the government to extend advantage of this scheme to all eligible people. Still, it is believed that if the government use to enter into a deal with Uber is successful, then the government can make a contract with the other private companies to increase the scope of the Ayushmann Bharat Scheme in urban areas. In this sequence, 21 potential partners have been identified. These companies employ large number of employees who may be eligible to take advantage of the Ayushman Bharat Scheme.

So far, under this scheme, Rs.1,800 crore has been distributed among 13.50 Lakh beneficiaries. The Government wishes to make the contract with top 200 hospitals of the country for extending the benefit of Ayushman Bharat Scheme to more people.  However, this is little bit difficult task, but it can be done. The biggest problem related to this is that the rate fixed for various diseases is very low under the scheme.

Currently, only 30 per cent of the hospitals have the contract to give benefits to this scheme. For increasing the number of benefits, the government wants to help Uber India's partner service centers to help identify the eligible partners of the Ayushman Bharat Scheme. By doing this, the eligible beneficiaries can easily be identified.

It can be said that the Government has taken a good initiative to extend the maximum benefits to eligible beneficiaries of the Ayushman Bharat Scheme. It is expected that more and more people will be able to take advantage of the Ayushman Bharat Scheme from the Government's latest decision.

About the author: Satish Singh is currently working as Chief Manager in State Bank of India's Economic Research Department, Corporate Centre, Mumbai, and has been writing mainly on financial and banking topics for the last 10 years.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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