Viral post on social media spreads false information about PM Modi’s pet scheme Ayushman Bharat

Prime Minister Modi’s pet project, Ayushman Bharat has created quite a buzz across the globe. It is a scheme to provide quality healthcare to all citizens of the nation. Recently, the World Health Organisation Director had also praised the initiative. The reputed medical journal Lancet had also lauded PM’s commitment. It had said that despite Rahul Gandhi’s promises to work for the poor, he is yet to match Modicare.

With such high praise pouring it, it was a matter of time before fake news regarding the scheme started gathering steam.

A viral post on Ayushman Bharat is being circulated widely on Social Media that dissipates dubious information regarding Modi care.

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The post claims that one needs to pay Rs. 1324 to complete the online application and registration. Although other details of the scheme given in the post is correct, the amount mentioned for registration is fallacious.

First, the scheme is available completely free of cost, there is no annual registration fee of Rs 1,324/- as the post claims. Second, the government has not started any online application registration facility for the scheme. This scheme is not available for all, beneficiaries for the scheme will be selected based on the Socio-Economic survey of 2011, therefore it is very unlikely there will be an online registration facility for it.

When the Union Health Minister J P Nadda was asked about this message, he clarified that the scheme is absolutely free for beneficiaries and one need not register anywhere to avail the benefits.

It is not beyond the realm of possibility that scamsters are trying to loot money from people in the name of a registration fee. With the help of social media, such messages spread to a very large number of people in a very short span. And some people who receive such a message become victims of such scams.

This also may be an attempt to discredit the scheme, by spreading misinformation about it. In recent times various kinds of misinformation are being circulated about several social welfare schemes launched by the Government of India and it could be a part of that strategy. With respect to Ayushman Bharat specifically, false information can be verified by calling the official helpline 14555.

Social Media has in the recent times emerged as one of the greatest purveyors of fake news. We have seen various cases where fake news even led to lynching and violence.

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