Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday wrote to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan saying his government’s health scheme was “ten times bigger and comprehensive” than the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat scheme.
The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, which is the health insurance programme under Ayushman Bharat, was launched in September. It aims to provide health insurance cover of upto Rs 5 lakh to 500 million poor families. Several states such as West Bengal, Telangana, Odisha and Delhi have not adopted the scheme.
“A good health scheme is already implemented in Delhi,” Kejriwal wrote in a letter to Vardhan, according to ANI. “Stopping it and implementing another won’t benefit anyone. If Delhi’s Health Scheme is stopped and Ayushman Bharat Yojana implemented, residents will be affected.”
The letter came days after Vardhan wrote to the chief ministers of Delhi, West Bengal, Telangana and Odisha, urging them to join the central scheme.
Kejriwal claimed lakhs of patients from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh go to Delhi for treatment despite Ayushman Bharat being in place in those states. But hardly any Delhi residents go to these neighbouring states for treatment, the chief minister said, adding that this indicates his government’s scheme is good.
He added that all citizens can benefit under the Delhi government’s health scheme but less than 10% of the city’s population will benefit under Ayushman Bharat. “Those whose income is more than Rs 10,000 do not come under Ayusman Bharat, which means those earning less than minimum wages [notified by Delhi government] are out of this scheme,” Kejriwal said.