The CEO of the National Health Agency, Indu Bhushan, today announced that while it is not mandatory for a patient seeking to avail the benefits of the Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) on her or his first ever occasion, it will be mandatory for their second visit. Speaking about the recent ruling by the Supreme Court that validated the Aadhaar number scheme as being valid under the Indian Constitution, Bhushan said, “We are studying the Supreme Court order. Aadhaar number or at least documents to prove that one has enrolled for the 12-digit unique identity number will be mandatory to seek treatment under the scheme for the second time. To avail benefits for the first time, one can either show an Aadhaar or any other identity document like election card etc.”
The AB-PMJAY was launched on September 23 by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and already about 47,000 people have been treated under this scheme. However, states such as Delhi, Kerala, Odisha and Telangana have declined to be included in this medical programme touted as being the largest health coverage in the whole world. Interestingly, there was a case reported within a couple of days of the launch where an elderly woman perished while waiting for her son to get a valid programme-related card ready, prompting worries that it would be necessary to furnish such identification to even attempt to gain access to this scheme. However, since this report, it has been announced that any form of valid identification will do, as evidenced by the comments of the NHA CEO.