Under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM JAY), over 9.70 lakh people sought treatment for Covid until March 7, 2022, across 27 states and Union Territories. This was revealed in an RTI filed by Vivek Pandey, an activist from Madhya Pradesh. BusinessLine had accessed a copy of the same. The government had spent ₹3,496 crore on their treatment. 

There is, however, no data from Telangana, Punjab, West Bengal, Gujarat, Odisha, Delhi and Ladakh. “(For these states) transactions are not recorded in the PM JAY portal. Hence, the information for remaining States/ UTs are not available with the National Health Authority,” says the reply dated May 27, 2022. The numbers can be higher if these States are included. 

Going by the available data, a little over 2.27 per cent of the total Covid patients have sought treatment under the scheme. 

PM JAY was launched on September 23, 2018, aiming to provide free healthcare to over 50 crore poor families. One is eligible to avail healthcare services worth up to ₹5 lakh under the scheme. Since its inception, the budgetary allocation has also gone up quite steeply. While the government spent, ₹3,200 crore and ₹2,681 crore on this respectively in 2019-20 and 2020-21. In the last budget, ₹6,412 crore was allocated towards this scheme. 

“The scheme is doing quite well on ground. It did pick up speed during Covid. However, there is a huge information and demand supply gaps in terms of hospitals,” says Aniket Doegar, CEO and Co-Founder, Haqdarshak. “To avail the PM JAY cards, people need to produce income and caste certificates. Not many know about these. Also, people are still in the dark about the fact that this is a cashless scheme,” he says. 

Southern states lead on spending

The state-wise breakdown of expenditure shows that 81.7 per cent of the total funds were spent by southern states (except Telangana). Through PM JAY scheme, about ₹2,856.47 crore was spent on Covid treatments by Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. 

Karnataka spent the most ₹ 1,281.5 crore. It is followed by Andhra Pradesh (₹741.64 crore), Maharashtra (₹459.01 crore), Kerala (₹439.54 crore) and Tamil Nadu (₹393.79 crore). Understandably, about 2,87,170 used the PM JAY to get Covid treated in Karnataka at an average cost of ₹44,625.5 per patient. Curious enough, Tamil Nadu had spent a whopping ₹1.16 lakh per patient and the Uttarakhand ₹94,385 per patient. 

In contrast...

In Goa, only one patient sought treatment under treatment this scheme. The centre had spent ₹3,500 on this person. Going by the data from August 2021, this person got infected during the first or second wave. The situation is not that great in Nagaland and Bihar, where only 13 and 27 people, respectively have sought Covid treatment using PM JAY.