Entire J&K population under Ayushman Bharat ambit

Jammu and Kashmir government on Friday brought the entire population of the Union Territory under a health scheme that will run in convergence with the existing Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) of the central government.

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha launched the J&K Health Scheme, aimed to provide universal health benefits for which the annual financial implications would be Rs 123 crore.

In his maiden press conference at Raj Bhawan here after he took over as the Lieutenant Governor, Sinha said, “It is probably the first of its kind health scheme in the country.” He urged common people to pitch in ideas for giving a suitable name to the health scheme.

The Lt Governor was flanked by BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Atal Dulloo Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education; Rohit Kansal, Principal Secretary PDD & Information Departments; Nitishwar Kumar Principal Secretary to Lt Governor, Simrandeep Singh, Secretary  Public Grievances  and other concerned officers.

“This scheme is aimed to provide universal health insurance coverage to all the residents of J&K. It will run in convergence with the AB-PMJAY,” Sinha said.

The LG said this scheme will provide health insurance cover free of cost to all residents of J&K presently not covered under AB-PMJAY. “This will also include employees and retirees of the government of J&K and their families. It will have the same benefits as available under AB-PMJAY with an annual health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakhs per family on floater basis,” Sinha said.

The LG said this scheme will cover about 15 lakh families “over and above the 5.97 lakh families already covered under AB-PMJAY.”

“1592 medical packages have already been approved under AB-PMJAY to which all the beneficiaries of J&K Health Scheme will have access. This includes packages of life consuming diseases such as cancer and kidney failure. Treatment of Covid-19 will also be covered under the scheme,” Sinha said. “All high-end treatments of oncology, cardiology, nephrology will be covered from day one. High end diagnostic treatment during hospitalisation will also be covered,” Sinha said.

The LG said under the scheme “there shall be no restriction on the family size or age and all the pre-existing medical conditions will be covered under the scheme.”

“The scheme shall cover 3 days of pre-hospitalisation, hospitalisation and 15 days of post hospitalisation including diagnostic care and expenditure on medicines. At present there are about 23,000 empanelled hospitals across India where this facility can be availed. These include 218 public and private hospitals already empanelled in J&K,” Sinha said.

Further speaking about the scheme, Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education Department, Atal Dullo, said the health department will be launching a beneficiary registration drive to distribute “golden cards or e-cards among the beneficiaries.” “Socio-economic caste census 2011 data will be used for identification of the families. The families suffering from any of the deprivations defined under the census are already covered under AB-PMJAY. However, under J&K Health Scheme, the remaining families including those who do not suffer from any deprivation will also be covered. In case any family is left out from the database of census 2011, the procedure for inclusion in the database has also been approved. This will essentially require a domicile certificate and a ration card,” Dullo said. He said that under J&K Health Scheme, portability option will be available as applicable under AP-PMJAY, which will allow beneficiary families to avail cashless service from any of the health care providers empanelled under AB-PMJAY across the country.

“The scheme shall be implemented through an insurance service provider discovered through transparent competitive bidding i.e Bajaj Allianz General insurance company,” Dullo said.

Public grievances redressal:

LG Sinha said public grievance redressal “is the topmost priority for my government and administration.”

“Ever since I joined, I have been extensively touring different areas of J&K. I have been meeting people in large numbers to understand and resolve their problems. We need to put in place a people-centric, responsive and accountable administrative structure,” Sinha said.

He said to begin with, all the Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police have been directed to remain available in their offices between 10:30 am to 11:30 am for five days a week except Wednesday and Sunday for public hearings. “Even Div Coms and IGs too have fixed twice a week exclusively for public hearings,” Sinha said.

Sinha said J&K had taken a significant step forward by launching JK Integrated Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (JKIGRAMS). “We have completely revamped the existing grievance mechanism and decentralised it,” Sinha said. He said DCs will now be the primary level of receiving, disposing and monitoring grievances. “In order to achieve this, existing portal has now been integrated downwards to the district level by mapping another nearly 1500 public offices in 20 districts of the UT,” Sinha said. Secretary, Public Grievances, Simrandeep Singh, said almost 75 offices per district are being mapped for the new grievances portal. “The existing system had only 250 mappings. By taking it down to the district level, we have achieved the widest possible coverage making JKIGRAMS one of the first online grievance management systems/portal in the country that is linked with central government and even further downwards to tehsil and blocks. Besides, the administrative secretaries of various departments will be figuring in the middle of the flow-chain,” Singh said. Singh said each district will have dedicated grievance handling teams “to handle seamless flow of grievances and resolve all issues.”

“We will also be setting up call centers at the divisional headquarters of Jammu, Srinagar in order to provide an additional medium for citizens to register their grievance on the portal,” Singh said. The facility, he said, was launched for three districts of Jammu, Srinagar and Reasi and will be extended to rest of districts before the end of next month.

The officials also informed that a 3-week long “Jan Sunwai Abhiyan (awami sunwai muhim) has kickstarted on Thursday. “During this period, a block or sub-divisional diwas (youm-e-block) shall be organised in every sub division/ block on every Wednesday of a week when all departmental functionaries will be available at a centrally notified place along with all supporting staff and equipment to ensure immediate on the spot disposal of applications, redressal of grievances, issuance of documents, service delivery etc,” Singh said. The DCs and their senior staff will personally visit, supervise and monitor each location, he said.