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Expanding Coverage: Government Initiates Work to Extend Ayushman Bharat Scheme

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Expanding Coverage: Government Initiates Work to Extend Ayushman Bharat Scheme

The Government’s Initiative to Widen the Scope of Ayushman Bharat

According to reports, the central government has begun work on expanding the scope of the government scheme Ayushman Bharat, which provides free treatment to the poor. As per the latest updates, all elderly citizens aged 70 and above will be eligible for the benefits of this scheme, regardless of their income.

Government Sets in Motion the Expansion Plans

A report from Live Mint, citing two government sources, has revealed that the government has initiated work to expand the Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana. Preparation is underway to include all citizens aged 70 and above within the ambit of this scheme. Regardless of their income, senior citizens above 70 years of age will be entitled to the benefits of this initiative.

Allocation in the Interim Budget

According to the report, following the announcement of election results in June, the government may officially declare an increase in the scope of the Ayushman Bharat scheme when it presents the full budget. Earlier this year, an interim budget was presented due to the Lok Sabha elections. In this interim budget, an allocation of Rs. 7,500 crore was made for the Ayushman Bharat scheme. This marked a 10% increase compared to the previous fiscal year.

BJP’s Electoral Promise

If the claims made in Mint’s report are accurate, the government’s preparation becomes crucial as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has included this expansion in its electoral promises. Recently, BJP released its manifesto, called ‘Sankalp Patra’, for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while releasing the manifesto, pledged to extend the benefits of the Ayushman Bharat scheme to all senior citizens aged 75 and above.

PM Modi’s Announcement

Prime Minister Modi, while announcing the decision to expand the scope of the Ayushman Bharat scheme, emphasized on providing better healthcare to the people. He stated, “Elderly citizens are most concerned about how they will manage the expenses of their illnesses. This concern is even more serious for middle-class people. Our party has now resolved to extend the benefits of the Ayushman Bharat scheme to all citizens aged 75 and above.”

Benefits of Ayushman Bharat Scheme

The government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership introduced the Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana during its first term. This scheme was launched in September 2018, a few months before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Ayushman Bharat scheme aimed to provide easy access to healthcare for the economically disadvantaged population. Currently, individuals with an annual income of less than Rs. 2.4 lakh are entitled to a medical insurance cover of up to Rs. 5 lakh annually under this scheme.

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