DELHI: More funds have been spent under the Dr Ambedkar medical aid scheme during the year 2017-18 as compared to the financial years of 2015-16 and 2016-17. The scheme is offered under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment's Dr Ambedkar Foundation.
The scheme provides medical aid for the treatment of scheduled caste and scheduled tribe patients who are suffering from serious ailments, including surgeries of kidney, heart, liver, brain, organ transplants, spinal surgeries and of any life-threatening disease like cancer.
In the last financial cycle, 197 cases were sanctioned and over Rs 4.27 crore released for the SC/ST patients. The numbers have increased as compared to over Rs 1.44 crore released during 2015-16 and over Rs 193.92 during the year of 2016 -17.
In the years preceding 2017-18, 62 and 103 cases were sanctioned respectively. A senior official of Dr Ambedkar Foundation said the scheme was made more user-friendly and documentation made easier which helped increase the number of beneficiary cases."A number of modifications were made which helped more SC/ST patients access the scheme and so more funds were utilised.
The highest number of applications was from the states of Mizoram, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh. The highest number of disposal of cases was also for these three states," said a senior official, Dr Ambedkar Foundation.
The department also used WhatsApp as a tool to call for documents in cases where applicants submitted incomplete documents.
"In order to deal with the cases fast, we called for documents on WhatsApp, especially for people with poor literacy level," said the official Earlier, the income criteria were beneficiaries was Rs 2.50 lakh per annum. The slab was revised to Rs 3 lakh per annum. Among the other prominent modifications, AIIMs across other states were added to the list in addition to the Delhi AIIMS and other designated hospitals.