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I Have Few Doubts Regarding The Actual Beneficiaries Of Ayushman Bharat

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Ayushman Bharat has been launched with a big fanfare. It is being touted as the game-changer for the Narendra Modi government. Ayushman Bharat aims to provide health insurance to 10 Cr families. It is deemed as the world’s largest government-funded healthcare programme covering around 50 Cr beneficiaries. It will target rural families and identified occupational category of urban workers’ families – 8.03 Cr families in rural and 2.33 Cr in urban areas, to be precise.

I tried to figure out who these beneficiaries are for Ayushman Bharat. After going through the government defined parameters for eligibility, I had below doubts regarding the Ayushman Bharat beneficiaries:

Occupational Category for Urban Beneficiaries

For the urban beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat, the government has identified rag-pickers, beggars, sweeper, washer-man, electrician, mali, tailor, chowkidar etc. Everybody in India knows that our government has no credible data on employment being generated in the country. At best, we have EPF and ESIC data, other than that no data exists.

Now, if there is no employment data available, on what basis is the government going to identify people engaged in these occupational categories for Ayushman Bharat? Again, the nature of casual employment keeps changing. A person who is working as chowkidar today may start working as Swiggy delivery-man tomorrow. All these occupations are highly dynamic. The data does not exist anywhere, leave aside the updation.

It needs to be remembered that a person cannot register himself for Ayushman Bharat. I am unable to understand how the government has identified beneficiaries of urban India at 2.33 Cr families. Because, if the government actually knows this number, then it surely would know the jobs creation data for the country.

Deprivation Category for Rural Beneficiaries

The point number three for eligibility of rural beneficiaries states the requirement as “Female-headed households with no adult male member between age 16 to 59”. I seriously doubt if there are 8.03 Cr families in rural India that fulfil this requirement.

The point number two for the eligibility is even more stringent. It states “Households with no adult member between age 16 to 59”. How many households are practically possible with everybody in the family either below 16 years or more than 59 years?

It is plainly evident that almost entire of the rural beneficiaries are made by point number v “SC/ST households”. I do not expect the government to have any data available for the other criteria.

Why the difference between the identification of rural and urban beneficiaries?

If the government has identified deprivation as a criterion for identification of rural beneficiaries for Ayushman Bharat, why not the same approach for urban beneficiaries?

Is the government implying that SC/ST households in urban India are not deprived?

Is the government implying that occupational categories applicable to urban India beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat are not a part of deprivation in rural India?

Requirement Of Mobile Number

The government of India has informed that an Additional Data Collection Drive (ADCD) was conducted on April 30, 2018, at Gram Sabhas across the country to capture active mobile number and ration card number of a family of the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) database. If the individual got his/her mobile number or ration card number captured during this drive, only then they’ll be the beneficiaries.

Under this scenario, how will those without mobile or not captured by the data collection drive- tribal groups, homeless people, rag pickers, etc.- will benefit from this scheme?

Beneficiaries Should Not Have Bike/Landline/Fridge

Recently, the government figured out that ministers, MLAs, government officials were getting identified as the beneficiaries of the Ayushman Bharat.

It would have been interesting to know which deprivation categories of rural India or occupational categories of urban India were these people fulfilling. Nonetheless, the government in hindsight raised the bar significantly high. It has now excluded people having a bike, landline, fridge from the Ayushman Bharat beneficiaries list.

The SECC census could not identify people with bike, landline, fridge and included them. How is the government going to exclude them now?


I can go further picking loopholes in the beneficiaries’ criteria, but that is not the point. The point remains that the government is clueless about identifying the real beneficiaries for what could actually be a good scheme. Again, the country will be let down.

The Ayushman Bharat execution is equally flawed, if not more.

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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