The Modi health care scheme announced in the Union budget this year is quite similar to the one introduced in Rajasthan in December 2015, says Kali Charan Saraf, Rajasthan's Minister of Health.
Under the Bhamashah Swasthya Bima Yojana (BSBY), health insurance cover of Rs 30,000 for general illnesses and Rs 3 lakh for critical illnesses is being given to beneficiaries.
An individual gets a risk cover for around 1,715 diseases and is also covered for major procedures like heart surgery and kidney transplant. Around 50 million of the state's estimated 69 million people are said to be registered under this scheme.
The basic aim of the Bhamashah Yojana is to bring about an improvement in health indicators, reduce out-of-pocket expenses and provide financial security to the poor against illnesses, the minister told IANS. He said it is also bringing in a "revolution in healthcare" in the rural areas of the state.
On the "only difference" between the scheme implemented in the state and the one announced in the Union budget, Saraf said under the Modi health care scheme -- dubbed 'Modicare' by a section of the media -- the coverage amount had been increased to Rs 5 lakh for a family.
He says the modus operandi of the new scheme would be similar to the one being executed in Rajasthan, which covers almost two-thirds of the population of the state.
"In the last two years, we have disbursed claims worth Rs 1,000 crore," Saraf said, adding that, till date, 1.6 million people had benefited from the scheme in urban and rural areas. "We have empanelled over 1,300 hospitals, both government and private, under the scheme," the minister said.
Asked if the central government had held a discussion on this scheme with the state before its announcement, he said that when the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, JP Nadda, was in Rajasthan about seven months ago, "we had updated him of this scheme as it was running quite successfully in the state".
Asked if the Rajasthan government would like to claim credit for the announcement of the central scheme, he said it was the same whether the central government was running it or the state. "It is an ambitious scheme and hence it is always good if the best things are picked up and used for the benefit of others," he added.
On the challenges in successfully implementing the scheme, he said his team had fought initial hiccups which included the slow rate of card activation, documentation and confusion on treatment packages. "But, it is running smooth now," he added.
Asked about the reasons for poor performance of the state government in the Niti Aayog report released recently, he said the report had taken 2014-15 figures into consideration. "We had hardly finished a year when the survey for this report was done. A year back, the state was under Congress rule and hence we can't be blamed for a poor performance in the state," he said.
Counting the steps his government had taken, he said that it started 581 Adarsh Primary Health Centres in Rajasthan in all panchayat samitis to receive free medicine and free health check-ups. "They do not face any trouble," he said, adding that a Rajya Janani Yojana had been set which had resulted in a 180 per cent increase in successful deliveries in the state.