Ayushman Bharat—PM Modi’s ‘Health for All’ Guarantee

Published By : Admin | February 9, 2024 | 19:50 IST

Health is of fundamental importance to any individual. It also forms the core of any national strategy meant for higher growth and sustainable development since true development results only from a healthy populace, functioning at optimum productivity. Hence, PM Modi’s mantra of Health for All speaks volumes about his understanding of and commitment to India’s holistic wellbeing.

In his quest to create an India that is blessed with a robust present and a thriving future, PM Modi launched his visionary scheme, Ayushman Bharat in 2018. Certainly, a game-changer, this ambitious initiative is more than just a healthcare program. It causes a shift in the way India has looked at and dealt with healthcare over the years. From a sectoral and segmented approach, Ayushman Bharat envisions healthcare delivery via a comprehensive, need-based pathway. It introduces pioneering interventions to create a wholesome healthcare environment at all levels—primary, secondary, and tertiary.

Surely, it is a meaningful attempt to bring accessible and affordable medical care to crores of Indians, truly manifesting PM Modi’s promise of Garib Kalyan.

Ayushman Bharat is a bouquet of initiatives that not only bring more lives under public health cover but also improve the affordability of medical procedures while augmenting the existing public health infrastructure. It stands on four dynamic pillars—Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, Health and Wellness Centres, Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, and Pradhan Mantri – Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission.

Beginning with the PM Jan Arogya Yojana, it is by far the world’s largest health insurance plan funded by a government. Covering nearly 55 crore individuals belonging to 12 crore vulnerable families, the scheme offers an assured health cover of up to Rs. 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation. Apart from giving access to the common man to good hospitals and standard treatments, PM Jan Arogya Yojana acts as a safety net, ensuring that medical emergencies don’t spiral into a cycle of debt.

To ensure the same, over 26,000 hospitals, including more than 11,000 private hospitals, have been empanelled under the scheme. A total of 6.2 crore free hospital admissions worth over Rs. 79,000 crore have been catered to via the scheme. This has resulted into immense savings in out-of-pocket expenditure, amounting to more than Rs. 1.25 lakh crore, for the poor. Had it not been for the scheme, the same treatment cost would have gone up by almost 2 times.

Further, a milestone 30 crore Ayushman Cards have been issued since 2018. Out of these, over 16 crore Cards were created only in the last two financial years. At this rate, almost 181 Ayushman Cards are created every minute.

PM Jan Arogya today stands for equity, entitlement, and empowerment. Acting as a healthcare guarantee to the poor, the scheme has ensured these services reach all, embedding gender parity along with regional and income parity in its delivery. This is exemplified via the nearly 14.6 crore Ayushman Cards created for females—making 49% of all Ayushman Cards issued. Further 48% of all treatments have been availed by female beneficiaries.

The second dynamic pillar of the flagship Ayushman Bharat scheme is the extensive focus of the government in building public health infrastructure at the grassroot level and aiding a shift towards preventive healthcare—Health and Wellness Centres now known as Arogya Mandirs.

The Modi government has established over 1.6 lakh health and wellness centres across the length and breadth of the nation. With the aim of taking comprehensive healthcare services to the doorstep of the most marginalised, the Arogya Mandirs are an exercise in upgrading existing sub-health and primary health centres to provide preventive, promotive, curative, palliative and rehabilitative services that are free, available to all, and closer to the community. These services cater to both child and maternal health as well as non-communicable diseases with provisions for free essential drugs and diagnostic services.

PM Modi’s approach towards establishing these centers across India is rooted in his emphasis not only on health but wellness, nudging people to choose healthy behaviours while improving their access to basic healthcare delivery.

The third pillar is Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission. A continuing stream in PM Modi’s extensive emphasis on creating a digitally empowered, knowledge economy, the Mission aims to give a concrete basis and form to an integrated digital health infrastructure in the country. Its key components include Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA) for citizens, Health Professional Registry (HPR), Health Facility Registry (HFR), and the ABHA Application.

So far, we have created over 49 crore Ayushman Bharat Health Accounts with over 2.5 lakh healthcare professionals onboard. More than 2.25 lakh health facilities have also registered under the Mission.

By empowering individuals with information and awareness, the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission introduces seamless flow of health data across the country. This would aid not only in better monitoring and evaluation of healthcare services but also supports evidence-based policymaking.

The fourth pillar under the umbrella of Ayushman Bharat is the Pradhan Mantri – Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM). Launched in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, PM-ABHIM aims to augment capacities of healthcare systems and institutions to better deal with any future public health emergencies. With an outlay of Rs. Rs. 64,180 crore till year 2025-26, the mission is plugging critical gaps in healthcare infrastructure along with surveillance mechanisms and sectoral research across rural and urban frameworks. Notably, it is the largest pan-India initiative to enhance public health infrastructure since the early 2000s.

Ayushman Bharat, as the name suggests, envisions a healthy and prosperous future for India. With its dedicated focus on the poor and the marginalised, the scheme ensures that accessibility no longer remains an issue, especially in the rural areas, and quality healthcare is no longer an exclusive privilege of the rich.

The success of Ayushman Bharat is reflected in the sheer numbers. Millions of beneficiaries have availed medical treatments, including complex and expensive procedures without bothering about financial repercussions. Besides, the scheme has opened up new avenues for the middle class and the youth as new medical facilities in tier-2 and tier-3 cities open up employment opportunities.

It would not be wrong to say that Ayushman Bharat is a standing example of how PM Modi has transformed a hitherto stagnant sector with visionary policies and their steadfast implementation. Leaving no one behind, this initiative writes a new healthcare narrative of India, one that is brimming with positivity and promise.

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"Building Atmanirbhar Bharat Through Comprehensive Job Creation"
February 24, 2024

One of the most effective pathways of aspirational and practical self-actualization for citizens of a nation is employment generation at scale and expanse. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been cognizant of this need and has moved the needle comprehensively so that job creation today is happening across the spectrum: in the formal and informal sectors, through direct and indirect opportunities, in conventional and unconventional fields, and via self-employment and the opening up of multiple avenues for gigs, start-ups and novel entrepreneurship.

Government Initiatives
If on the one hand, Bharat is seeing the exponential growth in the number of start-ups and a conducive environment has made it one that has the largest number of unicorns, on the other hand a record number of Mudra loans sanctioned have fuelled unprecedented women-led growth, and the Agniveer scheme that aims to recruit youth into the Armed services has seen adoption in record numbers. According to a Harvard University research, India is among the top quartile of fastest-growing countries till 2029 and is undergoing a historic transition towards becoming a more formalized and technologically advanced, digitally evolved nation.

In the three years between 2017-18 and 2020-21, total employment increased by 8.4 crore which is a manifestation of several key factors such as demonetisation, rationalisation of taxes, the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), digital inclusivity and digitisation of financial transactions, inclusion of skill development and vocational training in the National Education Policy, increasing the number of Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), a fillip to the hitherto marginalized segments such as rural and tribal populace, and effective incentivization for a highly labour dominant unorganized sector. An example is how PM Street Vendor’s Atmanirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi), has benefitted more than 56 lakh rehri or street vendors from June 2020 to November 2023.

Immense positive impact can be seen in the nation’s formal employment sector. India is the 5th largest economy in the world with 1.12 crore net additional employment created between 2015 to 2018. This is a result of the confluence of progressive, pro-industry policy decisions, leveraging of advancements in technology, reforms to ease business investment, and a focus on skilling. An example of how this translates on the ground is that with the PM MUDRA Yojana More than 15 crore people have been employed in the MSME sector out of which 3.4 crore are women.

In the IT Industry alone, around 20 lakh people have been employed between 2013-14 and 2021-22. Indirectly, about 6.24 crore jobs were created between 2014 and 2019 in India’s digital economy. When it comes to a boost in employment generation across sectors, let’s take the example of tourism – a revamped and increasingly attractive tourism and hospitality industry led to 1.9 crore indirect jobs being created in the tourism sector between 2017 and 2020. The overhaul in the hospitality sector has led to the creation of many such jobs directly, and indirectly; India is among the most visited countries in the world and has been experiencing a growing influx of tourists. This has led to business incentivization and a boost to local artisans, transport providers, and hotels and restaurants within the larger hospitality service industry. In Air transport alone, for every Rs. 100/- invested in the sector, 610 indirect jobs are generated.

Infromal Sectors
The winds of change can also be seen in the disruptive as well as informal sectors. Providing security and stability to the unconventional health and wellness, since 2014, about 5.65 lakh practitioners have been provided employment under Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, and Homoeopathy (AYUSH). The introduction of several new reforms, an increase in FDI, which have further helped in improving the ‘ease of doing business’ along with low data costs, improvised processes and ready adoption have created a thriving new ecosystem for employment – the gig and platform economy. Gig-economy jobs grew year-on-year by 13% and over 29.20 crore people have registered so far on the E-Shram portal. From 2016 to May 2022, ‘Hunar Haat’ has created employment avenues for over 10.5 lakh artisans and talented Vishwakarmas.

The continuing chain of beneficiaries in the government’s Gati shakti model include processes that act as catalysts for indirect job creation in sectors such as transport, logistics, mobility, food, consumer goods and manufacturing products. Up to 2021-22, 53,696 km of roadways were created which generated 21.8 crore man-days of employment. As mentioned before, round 6 crore people employed in unorganized sector between 2017-18 and 2019-20 have benefited from the SVANidhi Yojana – making PM Modi’s vision of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas aur Sabka Prayas a quintessential facet of employment for all.

People-first policies such as the flagship program for equitable housing, the PM Awas has created 2.39 crore indirect jobs up to 2022. Another great example of the ripple effect of employment generation can be seen in the form of Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes which enable the expansion of existing industries into larger ones, while promoting the creation of new ones. As an example, 5 lakh incremental jobs have been created in the mobile manufacturing sector due to PLI. As per the Economic Survey 2023, PLI schemes are slated to create 60 lakh jobs. In addition, India’s fintech adoption rate of 87% as against the world average of 64% has enabled the creation of an ecosystem that is touching the lives and livelihoods of all – including the self-employed and small business owners.

To this end, Rozgar Melas that aim to provide 10 lakh jobs in less than two years, and that meld employment opportunities and unique talent have been a boon for the economy. Rozgar Mela is a key step towards the fulfilment of the commitment to accord the highest priority to employment generation in the country. On 12th February, 2024, PM Modi distributed more than 1 lakh appointment letters to newly inducted recruits and also lay the foundation stone of Phase I of the Integrated Complex “Karmayogi Bhavan” to promote collaboration and synergy amongst various pillars of Mission Karmayogi. “Rozgar Melas are playing a crucial role in enhancing the contribution of our Yuva Shakti in nation building”, said PM Modi. Rozgar Mela will be held at 47 locations across the country this year with recruitments taking place across central government departments and state governments/UTs supporting this initiative. These melas ascribe gainful opportunities to the youth, the Amrit Generation, and create pathways for their direct participation in national development. Similarly, under the Prime Ministers Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), over 43.77 lakh people have got employment and the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) has led to the placement of over 24.51 lakh candidates.

As policy making becomes efficient, so do its representative tools; more than 19.9 lakh people have been placed in jobs through employment exchanges between 2017-2022. The government has incessantly been taking many measures to tackle unemployment issues and stem the unemployment rate. The Amrit generation is benefitting from a multi-pronged approach; if on the one hand, Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI), has benefitted around 2.94 lakh from 2014-15 to December 2022, on the other hand, over 1.80 lakh new job-creators and entrepreneurs are now operating under the Stand-Up India scheme.

New India – Naya Bharat – is one that thrives on a developed mindset with the aim of making the country Atmanirbhar, and a Vishwa Mitra – one the world leans on. As an example of this commitment, in the current financial year, Khadi has achieved a historic milestone by generating over 9.54 lakh new jobs. Be it our push towards renewable energy, creating a decarbonized energy sector which ranks India is 4th globally or the reduction of unemployment rate in rural areas, (decreased from 5.3% in 2017-18 to 2.4% in 2022-23) the commitment of PM Modi’s government to decisively mitigate unemployment stays foremost.

A spurt in the employment index is predicated on employment mobility to higher productivity jobs, rising job rates in secondary and tertiary sectors, promotion of women as economic catalysts and the increased formalisation of the unorganized, informal sector. PM Modi’s government has consistently come good on all the parameters which is the reason why milestone, upon milestone, Bharat’s journey towards becoming Atmanirbhar and the world’s third largest economy, is only a matter of time.