Modi Government Denies Reports That Rajasthan, Maharashtra 'Reluctant' to Implement Ayushman Bharat Scheme
Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda along with Union Ministers for State Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Anupriya Patel, briefs the media regarding the cabinet's approval for Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission | File Pic | (Photo Credit: IANS)

New Delhi, July 9: The central government today dismissed as "incorrect" reports in a section of media that claimed state government of Rajasthan and Maharashtra expressed "reluctance" to implement Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious ambitious Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Scheme (AB-NHPS).

"There are some news reports today that Maharashtra and Rajasthan are “reluctant” to join Ayushman Bharat. These reports are factually incorrect," the government said in a statement, as reported by news agency ANI.

"The two states are currently reviewing the financial and operational implications of the convergence with Ayushman Bharat to avoid any disruption of services, and ensure that the convergence can be done efficiently and current legal contracts can be honored," the government said.

Quoting a government official, a PTI report said the Rajasthan and Maharashtra governments are reluctant in implementing the scheme, as similar projects catering to a much larger population are being run in the states. The AB-NHPS aims at providing a coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually and benefiting more than 10 crore poor families.

The official said that though the Rajasthan government has welcomed the Centre's scheme, "they are not sure how to implement it, as they already have the ongoing Bhamashah Swasthya Bima Yojana, under which cashless health care services are provided to around 4.5 crore people".

"Moreover, the contract with the insurance company goes up till the next year. So they are thinking of finding a way of how to converge the two schemes so that the ongoing scheme is not disturbed," the official said. The Maharashtra government has cited lack of funds as the reason for not implementing the scheme, the report claimed.

Odisha has already refused to implement the Centre's flagship health programme, saying it already has a scheme called Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana with more beneficiaries compared to the AB-NHPS.

Two other states -- Punjab and Delhi -- are yet to come on board and give their approval to the AB-NHPS. However, despite disagreements, the West Bengal government has agreed to adopt the scheme, the official said. So far, 25 states and UTs have signed MoUs with the Health Ministry for implementing the scheme.