A farmer in West Bengal helped by Health Minister JP Nadda, as state has opted-out of Ayushman Bharat Yojana

The farmer was referred to Mumbai's Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital, but he was unable to afford the treatment cost

A farmer from Bardhaman district of West Bengal suffering from cancer was helped by Health Miniter JP Nadda for treatment at Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital, as his state has opted-out of the ambitious Ayuhsman Bharat Scheme.

According to an Indian Express report, Anant Kumar Roy was ascertained to have adenocarcinoma after biopsy and was referred to the Mumbai Hospital. The farmer earns less than Rs 5000 a month, and hence eligible for the scheme. Under the scheme, a patient is eligible for nation-wide treatment up to 5 lakhs in any empanelled government or private hospital. However, as the state has opted-out of the scheme, he was not able to apply for benefits and get a PMJY’s Gold card. However, after intervention from the Union Health Ministry, the person was issued benefits citing it as a “special case”.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had decided to pull out from Ayushman Bharat scheme, Modi government’s flagship healthcare programme launched in 2018, under the Ayushman Bharat Mission that intends to provide coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually. CM Mamta Banerjee had accused PM Modi of taking full credit for the roll-out of the scheme and neglecting state government’s contribution. Not only this, earlier this month, around 200 Trinamool Congress activists led by MLA and Nadia chief, Gourishankar Dutta had threatened to shut the Krishnagar head post office down, unless the delivery of the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat scheme letters were stopped immediately.

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“We tried to reach out to the state (West Bengal) because we are yet to have any clarity on whether or not they are reconsidering their decision as we had requested. However, we have not got any response from the state. He may require a series of surgery which will cost Rs 1-2 lakh, and as a special case the minister has taken a decision to allow his treatment.” Ayushman Bharat deputy CEO Dr Dinesh Arora was quoted by reports.

West Bengal is not the only state that has opted from the roll-out of the scheme due to political reasons. States like Congress-led Chhattisgarh and Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi, too have undermined the ambitious scheme and have turned it down.

Ayushman Bharat Yojna has so far helped around 900,000 lakh patients in India and is also helping the country fight the menace of non-communicable diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Recently, Ayushman Bharat Scheme earned major accolades when Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates congratulated the Indian government on completion of 100 days of Ayushmaan Bharat initiative. Ayushman Bharat is the world’s largest state-sponsored welfare scheme in the world. Recently, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Direct-General of WHO also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Health Minister J P Nadda for their visionary leadership which helped around seven lakh people avail benefits of the healthcare scheme Ayushman Bharat in the first 100 days of its launch.

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