Your front page story “Ayushman on rollout in six states on I-Day” (August 14), by Veena Mani and Nivedita Mookerji is music to the ears. Every Indian is waiting for a universal health care programme and this may well be the precursor to that.
To say that the health care system in India is in a pathetic state would be an understatement. People are already groaning under the escalating costs of private health care providers and sad state of affairs in the government hospitals and dispensaries. The burden of disease is growing, the increase in the number of old people is adding to the problem, pollution in food, water and air is aggravating the misery. People sell their jewellery and property to raise money for long-term treatment of cancers, heart ailments and others. Not able to travel long distances and afford treatment, many poor people just quietly die a painful death. Ayushman Bharat
is expected to herald a huge change in all this. It is being rightly “projected as the next big thing after the Goods and Service Tax”. Perhaps it is even more important.
The choice of the six states for the pilot programme is wise. It covers all geographic regions of the country and even includes a state that has a hyge tribal population and is less accessible. Officials of the Ayushman Bharat
National Health Protection Mission seem to have done a good job of thinking through this aspect.
I sincerely hope that the Prime Minister will not give into the politically motivated sycophantic suggestion of renaming the scheme to “Prajaa”. The full suggested new name ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyan’ may be fine but the abbreviation ‘Prajaa’ certainly has negative connotations. We have come a long way from the days of Raja-Prajaa; let’s not talk in those feudal terms.
Krishan Kalra Gurugram
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