Over 10 lakh availed free treatment under Ayushman Bharat: President
New Delhi: Over 10 lakh poor have availed free treatment under the Ayushman Bharat Yojana since its launch and the reduction in the cost of cardiac stents has led to an annual saving of Rs 4,600 crore for the poor and middle class, President Ram Nath Kovind said Thursday.
He said the expenditure on medical treatment impoverishes poor families and the government's endeavour has been to reduce the burden of out-of-pocket expenses for the poor and the middle class.
"In a short period of four months, more than 10 lakh poor have already availed free treatment from hospitals under this scheme," he said addressing the joint sitting of Parliament.
Detailing other initiatives taken in this regard, Kovind said under the Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana, 4,900 Jan Aushadhi centres have already been opened in more than 600 districts where more than 700 different medicines are being dispensed at low cost.
Similarly, the reduction in the cost of cardiac stents has resulted in an annual saving of about Rs 4,600 crore for the poor and middle class, he said, adding that reduction in the cost of knee replacement has led to an annual saving of about Rs 1,500 crore.
The government has provided the facility of dialysis-free of cost to those suffering from kidney diseases which has resulted in a saving of more than Rs 2,000 per session for them, he said.
"In addition, for a premium of just one rupee a month under 'Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana' and 90 paise a day under 'Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana', as many as 21 crore poor brothers and sisters have been provided with insurance coverage," Kovind said.
In the event of an untoward incident, an assistance of Rs 2 lakh is made available to them under both the schemes, he said.
"By disbursing more than Rs 3,100 crore under these schemes till now, my government has supported the people in their times of difficulty," the president said.
To tackle the challenge of malnutrition among poor women and children, he said the government has launched the National Nutrition Mission for those suffering from malnutrition and to eliminate the factors responsible for it.
Mission Indradhanush has been launched by the government to provide immunisation facilities to children and pregnant women living in remote and tribal areas. As a result, the country has moved rapidly towards the target of universal immunization, he said.
Kovind said new medical colleges are being set up by the government, district hospitals are being upgraded and wellness centres are being established in all major panchayats to strengthen the healthcare-related infrastructure both in cities and villages.
"From Madurai in Tamil Nadu to Pulwama in Jammu-Kashmir; and from Rajkot in Gujarat to Kamrup in Assam, new AIIMS are being established. The government is setting up new Ayurveda science institutes and encouraging yoga for physical and mental well being," he said.
To address the shortage of doctors in rural areas, 31,000 new seats have been added in medical institutes in the last four years, he said.