health scheme-ayushman- PMJAY

Kushagra Mittal

 The United Nations defines sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

The statistics shows that despite having such rich culture and resources, India, even today, struggles to fulfill the sustainable development goals sets by The United Nations.

The Indian government has been working very hard to achieve the sustainable development goals. Since a country’s development is mirrored by its sustainable development goals, it won’t be wrong to say that the 90 percent schemes launched by the government of India aims at achieving the SDGs. The government, through its schemes for the public tries to fulfill the SDGs. It is important to note that achieving such big a goal, to provide every possible assistant to its citizens and making every individual skilled enough to be able to work for himself, the government demands assistance and contribution from its citizens. The “Sabka Saath, Saabka Vikas” mantra, which literally translates to “Collective Effort, Inclusive Growth”, is a visionary campaign to bring every section of the society together and effectively utilize every single person’s contribution to the development of the nation.

The government’s PRADHAN MANTRI JAN DHAN YOJYA” i.e PMJAY  which was launched in 2014 had a vision of providing bank accounts with a minimum balance of ₹ 0. Along with a basic necessity of a bank account, the government leveraged the scheme and started depositing the subsidies  to the bank accounts of the beneficiary directly. The scheme had roughly 329 million beneficiaries. This program helped to significantly enhance the efficiency of the government programs by directly reaching the citizens. The scheme also reduced the corruption by linking the bank accounts to the mobile numbers of every individual and provided full benefit of the government programs to the poor.

“UJJWALA YOJNA” , which provided free gas connections to 5 crore women literally gave them the second birth. It schemed helped 5 crore poor women to give up the traditional choolhah which degraded their lives and made it easier for them to use the LPG gas stoves which they couldn’t afford due to very high cost. The scheme was revolutionary and exceeded the targeted of 3.5 crore. However, the one time free gas cylinder didn’t go well with some familes which switched back to their old method of cooking because of the high price of the LPG refill. The government is still in process to examine and provide a solution to this problem by proving work to the jobless under various programs. 

India has pledged to provide home to its every citizen by the year 2022. The swattchta mission under “Swattch Bharat Abhiyan” or Clean India emphasized on cleanliness. Under this program the government built 10 crore toilets across India, making nearly 97 percent of the country open defecation free. It was, no doubt, a huge accomplishment of the government. It wasn’t a one day task. For such a big country as India, which is driven by culture and diversity it wasn’t easy to build toilets even for free. It took years and at some places even decades to educate people that building toilets at home does not make the entire home unclean. However, the government and the local level executives little bothers. At many places, including Uttarakhand, it has been revealed that some states have been wrongly declared open defecation free. The government, however, has to run into elections with their achievements and new promises to lure the public into trap. At many places, the toilets built three years are until today not been used even once, the reason being the lack of water.

Recently launched “PRADHAN MANTRI JAN AROGYA YOJNA” i.e PMJAY under Ayushmaan Bharat, a visionary and flagship scheme of the prime minister Narendra Modi, aims at providing ₹5lacs health insurance cover to poor. Popularly known as “Modicare“, it is a blessing to the poor Indians. Thousands of people die every year, in fact every second because they do not have enough money to bear the charges of the treatment even at cheap government hospitals. The scheme provides insurance cover free of cost and entitles the person to move to any of the government and private hospitals registered under scheme. However,  no matter how visionary the program may be, it faces tremendous challenges which act as hurdles, as huge as a mountain itself in its success path.

Firstly, the non ruling party states aren’t on board. The Indian government had proposed 40 percent participation of the state against 60 percent of itself, but the states such as West Bengal and Karnataka, which ain’t ruled by the party ruling at center sees the scheme as a political advantage for the ruling party over themselves and hence oppose the scheme showing their no confidence in the and calling it an attempt by the center to give public false hopes. Such states have rather chosen to roll out the health program of their own with an eye to safeguard their vote banks. Such filthy politics makes the public suffer making them the puppet in hands of the power bearers.

Secondly, the PMJAY fails to bring the private hospitals in confidence. Many of the private hospitals declined the proposal of the government to join the PMJAY with a vision to boost the healthcare sector in India. The hospitals which, however, joined the government in hands doesn’t seem to be happy enough. Due to the late payments and lack of funds, many private hospitals have reportedly denied the healthcare access to many registered citizens. They do not seem to be happy with the government machinery. A man died in Uttarakhand when was denied healthcare by a private hospital. He and was abused by the hospital staff and doctor on showing the PMJAY registration card. Here, when we come across such incidents we fail as a nation. It is shameful for every one of us if one of us dies because of lack of basic necessity.

Thirdly and most importantly, the infrastructure. The government seems to have launched the scheme in haste. How could they expect that the hospitals that lack basic infrastructre can provide healthcare to the people? It is useless to even think of providing healthcare when we do not even have proper wards?

An hour of monsoon rain turns Bihar government hospital into pond with fishes and snakes full water across the ICU floor. It seems as if government is so engaged in completing the 2022 SDG goals set by The United Nations that it does not even matter to them if their schemes are really benefiting the citizens.

The government has also made a provision to increase resources for the medical services by creating bridge course to start becoming a medical practitioners, however, this is pending with standing committee in parliament and it will take time for such practitioners to come operative. There has also been another drawback the a significant percentage of the doctors move abroad to practise their professions leaving their own country suffer. There has already been lack of doctors at most of the places in India, yet, there has been increase in doctors leaving country.

Basic necessities compel the people to leave the villages and move to cities. Uttarakhand is a massive suffer of the migration from hills to cities. The government even in two decades has miserably failed to provide basic necessities to the locals in the hills. As a result people have abandoned their ancestral villages and moved to big cities, struggling to cope up the the environment. The government hospitals lacking beds and doctors entertain thousands of people only to tell them to visit the plains to get the healthcare.

With an eye on negating the massive migration from the hills and provide healthcare to the people right where they’ve been living, the Uttarakhand government has launched a healthcare scheme under PMJAY and named it ‘Atal Ayushman Uttarakhandyojna. Under this scheme, not only the poor, but every family in Uttarakhand gets a heath cover worth ₹5lacs every year.The scheme will benefit 23 lakh households and will cover 1,350 critical diseases. This is a massive move by the government which insures its every single individual and also, Uttarakhand becomes the first state in all India to have such a promising healthcare plan for its citizens.

The PMJAY, though visionary and necessary, yet fails to effectively provide the benefits to the people in the roots, but according to the recent data provided by the government of India there has been increase in hospitalisation under PMJAY recently. There are 6,73,845 hospitals registered till date, where 66 private and 99 government hospitals are covered in Uttarakhand alone. There has also been 47 percent month surge in number of beneficiaries availing health under the scheme. 38,81,850 E-cards have been issued until December 29, 2018.

The government has to reach out to every single person in the remotest parts of the state to spread awareness and provide them with the benefits.

Sustainable development is the necessity of the hour, but it ought to be implemented in coherent and correct manner. It shouldn’t be just seen as a target that needs to be completed before the deadline. No matter if we achieve the bigger target, but if we do not reach out to the roots to fulfill the basic necessities, we cannot grow as a whole.

It also needs to be taken into account that it is every single individual’s contribution that matters, so it is the collective responsibility. If we vision to the a developed nation, sooner or later, we will have to put our hands together and work together.

 If even after 72 years of independence we are struggling in providing basic necessities to our citizens, there has definitely been something at fault that we have been ignoring.

We have a lot to learn from our ancient civilizations and culture. Intermingling of the resources, ethics  and technology can help us  build a self sustained model of our own, setting an example to put before the world.

We have everything right here in this oldest living place, that had been self sustained forever and ever. We only need to join hands together, pledge and dedicate ourselves in shaping this purest land yet again and restore its lost glory.

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