Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi is all set to launch the Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission, also dubbed as Modicare, on 14 April in the largely tribal Bijapur district in Chhattisgarh, Economic Times has reported.
The date coincides with Ambedkar Jayanti and the political messaging could prove to be significant in the poll-bound state with more than 40 per cent population belonging to Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).
As the state Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) gets into election mode, the PM, along with the much awaited Modicare, will also launch the Van Dhan Yojana in the state. The scheme aims to empower the tribals by teaching them skills for value addition to forest produce. The first such training centre will be inaugurated by the PM in Bijapur.
Modicare was the big-ticket announcement in this year’s budget speech by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and aims to provide health cover to as many as 50 crore poor and marginalised citizens in the country. The scheme provides a Rs 5 lakh benefit per family per year covering almost 40 per cent of the country’s population thereby making it the biggest such healthcare net in the world.
The government had recently appointed the Director General of East Asia Department, Asian Development Bank, Indu Bhushan to lead the Ayushman Bharat scheme as its Chief Executive Officer. Having been announced in February the scheme will now see its formal launch in the Jangla health centre in Bijapur.
Chhattisgarh elections, later this year, are set to be a three-way contest this time with Congress leader Ajit Jogi having left the party to form his Chhattisgarh Janta Congress with hopes of capturing the Congress’ traditional tribal votebank. With the launch of the two schemes the BJP is also seen as trying to lure the tribals to its side as the party fights anti-incumbency after three terms in office.
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