RANCHI, Sept 23 - Prime Minister Narendra Modi rolled out the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) �Ayushman Bharat from here today, and termed it a �game-changer initiative to serve the poor�.
The health scheme would come into effect from today (Sunday), he said.
�PMJAY � Ayushman Bharat is the biggest government-sponsored healthcare scheme in the world. The number of beneficiaries is almost equal to the population of Canada, Mexico and the US taken together,� Modi said.
In an apparent reference to the Congress, he said the previous governments had indulged in �vote-bank politics� without empowering the poor. The erstwhile government did not realise that the poor have self-respect and dignity, Modi claimed.
�I have seen and lived the life of a poor, so I know the importance of self-respect and dignity in their lives. I am trying my best to fulfil their dreams and protect their dignity. It is the BJP government that is focused on empowering them (poor people),� he said.
The magnitude of the Ayushman Bharat scheme could be gauged from the fact that more than 1,300 ailments are covered under it, including heart diseases, kidney and liver disorders and diabetes, the Prime Minister said.
Iterating the slogan �Sabka saath, sabka vikas� (together for all, development for all), Modi said the health cover does not discriminate on communal or caste lines. �The programme will not differentiate between people, based on religion, caste, location. Every eligible person will be able to avail of the benefits,� he asserted.
The ambitious Ayushman Bharat scheme aims to provide coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually, benefiting more than 50 crore people for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation through a network of empanelled health care providers.
�One does not need to register for the initiative. A health card would be provided to the beneficiaries for availing of the benefits. A toll-free number will also be made available to the people for finding out more about the scheme,� he explained.
�A total of 13,000 hospitals have become a part of the Ayushman Bharat scheme. Our government has taken a holistic approach to lay stress on affordable and preventive healthcare,� he said. � PTI