NEW DELHI: The central government had in the past one year spent Rs 2223.57 crore under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri – Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) for Covid-19 treatments, tests with maximum beneficiaries coming from southern states - Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala as well as Maharashtra, reveals an RTI query.
According to the RTI filed with the National Health Authority by activist Vivek Pandey, from April 2020 to first 2021, more than 6.05 lakh beneficiaries availed free Covid treatment under Ayushman Bharat scheme, while 17.73 lakh have been benefited with free testing.
Karnataka government has so far the most number of beneficiaries - 1,62,050 who have received Covid treatment under the health scheme and has spent Rs 770.60 crore in the past one year, the highest amount authorised for the PMJAY. However, the state does not have any beneficiaries availing the scheme for Covid testing, revealed the RTI.
An amount of Rs 413.98 crore has been spent by Andhra Pradesh for treatment of 1,54,760 Covid patients but like Karnataka, no Covid testing was conducted under the AB-PMJAY scheme in the past one year.
Maharashtra has beneficiaries availing the scheme for the purpose of both testing (1,25,213) and treatment (1,61,234) and an amount of Rs 424.39 crore has been spent in one year.
Out of 17.73 lakh testings conducted under the Ayushman Bharat, highest came from the state of Tamil Nadu where 15.84 lakh people have been benefited till first week of June 2021 and an amount of Rs 315 crore spent till now for the purpose. Around 10,370 have been treated for Covid under the scheme.
Under the scheme, Kerala has been authorised so far Rs 181.05 crore for benefitting 34,755 people for Covid treatment and 33,951 for testing.
States which have the most number of beneficiaries and spent more under PMJAY also have the highest Covid case load in the country.
Maharashtra has so far registered 59.1 lakh cumulative cases followed by Karnataka (27.7 lakh cases), Kerala (27.3 lakh cases), Tamil Nadu (23.5 lakh cases) and Andhra Pradesh (18.1 lakh cases).
Gujarat had utilised the health scheme only for the purpose of covid testing with 10,430 beneficiaries availing PMJAY and no treatment in one year.
Uttar Pradesh, despite having a cumulative case load of 17 lakh Covid patients, has grossly under utilised the Ayushman Bharat scheme for treatment purpose. Uttar Pradesh has 1538 benefited for Covid testing and only 875 people availing the scheme for treatment purpose and spent Rs 1.51 crore in the past one year.
Punjab has the lowest count in terms of beneficiaries under the scheme - only two have availed the scheme for Covid testing and no one benefited for treatment.
Last year in April, the central government had announced plans to make the testing and treatment for COVID-19 available under Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PM JAY). "The empaneled hospitals can use their own authorized testing facilities or tie up with an authorized testing facility. These tests would be carried out as per the protocol set by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and by private labs approved/registered by ICMR. Similarly, treatment of COVID-19 by private hospitals will be covered under AB-PMJAY," said the government in a statement.
AB-PM JAY is the flagship scheme that provides a coverage of up to Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.
"Due to ongoing covid 19 pandemic, people are facing financial crisis. This scheme was launched to provide free medication to poor people. Main reason to file this RTI is to get information about how many people have benefited from this scheme. People from only a few states benefited from this scheme while many other state governments failed," said Pandey.