The state of Gujarat seems to have got a preferential treatment in allocation of funds under Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana – Centre’s ambitious scheme for universal health coverage – for the current financial year, reveals a Right to Information (RTI) application.
The National Health Authority gave almost one-third of Rs 1,044 crore to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state. On the other hand, about 10 states did not get even a penny under the scheme, shows data provided by the government in response to the RTI application filed by Pune-based Praful Sarda.
Gujarat has received Rs 330 crore while Kerala got Rs 128 crore in the current financial year (2021-22). It was followed by Maharashtra which received Rs 117 crore. Together these three states bagged more than half of the funds under Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana. Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh were the other two states to have got more than a hundred crore rupees.
States like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Rajasthan – which too were badly hit by COVID – received no funds at all. Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Ladakh, Lakshadweep and Sikkim too did not get any funds.
The seven sister-states (north-east) together got about Rs 62 crore. Assam got the highest share of about Rs 31.62 crore. The data of the four states – Odisha, Telangana, West Bengal, and Delhi – was not provided.
The RTI data also revealed that the annual allocation for Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana dropped by about 15 percent amid the pandemic. The total allocation of about Rs 2,992 crore in 2019-20 fell to Rs 2,544 crore in 2020-21.
Sarda said, “This is not the first instance where Gujarat was given the upper hand during COVID-19. The state received excess supplies of COVID treatment drugs, Remdesivir and Tocilizumab, during the second wave. Modiji’s home state was given priority and states like Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka were side lined.”
Sarda further said, “I hope the next time while allocating funds ground reality will be considered and funds distribution will not be done in a biased manner.”
Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY) is one of the flagship schemes of the Modi government, which is aimed at catering to common citizens’ needs with health insurance of up to Rs 5 lakh per family. The scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 23, 2018, across India. Since its launch, the scheme, operated under the name Ayushman Bharat, has helped about 1.94 crore patients, according to official data.