ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Dissecting ‘Modicare’

Narendra Modi has been good at launching fantastic schemes, most of them being just the renaming or rehashing of the existing ones but pedalled as novel, and confidently communicated to the masses as such. There are as many as 23 such legacy schemes of the United Progressive Alliance that have been rebranded by the National Democratic Alliance under him as its own. It may be admitted to his credit that these schemes underwent substantial reconfiguration and scaling. While the government may be complimented for professionally modifying them, their expansion smacks of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s hyperbole and also its zeal to further its neo-liberal agenda to benefit private capital at the expense of public resources. The latest of such rebranded schemes is the Ayushman Bharat–National Health Protection Scheme (AB–NHPS), called by his minions as “Modicare.”

The existing Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana was launched on 1 April 2008 by the Ministry of Labour and Employment (being administered and implemented by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare since 2015) to provide health insurance coverage for below poverty line (BPL) families through a decentralised implementation structure at the state level. It provided for total insurance cover of ₹ 30,000 per family per annum, with cashless attendance to all covered ailments and transportation costs within an overall limit of ₹ 1,000. The insurance cost was to be borne by union and state governments in the ratio of 75: 25. It had won plaudits from the World Bank, the United Nations, and the International Labour Organization as one of the world’s best health insurance schemes. If this modestly formulated scheme failed in implementation (Ghosh and Datta Gupta 2017), then the far more ambitious AB–NHPS that targets 100 million families with an insurance cover of ₹ 5 lakh each, and a higher share of contribution from the states (60: 40) without any commensurate infrastructural support naturally creates scepticism.

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Updated On : 24th Jun, 2020

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