Bihar, which will go to polls by the end of this year, has got no grant under the Modi government’s Ayushman Bharat scheme, due to dismal performance on the prerequisite for fund release.
Bihar, one of the poorest states in India, and has more than 11 million intended beneficiaries, among the largest in the country. The state has been able to enroll only 1.56 lakh hospitals in the last 17 months of the launch of the scheme. “We had no experience of running a scheme of such scale, unlike some other states. It took time to set up the infrastructure and get medical human resources, and hence we are behind some other states,” said Bihar’s health minister Mangal Pandey.
The Ayushman Bharat scheme aims to cover 10 crore families or 50 crore people of the country. But in Bihar, only 44 lakh individuals have been enrolled under the scheme. Four fifths or 80 percent of state’s intended beneficiaries are still outside the purview of the health insurance scheme.
As per the data from health ministry, “Three large states (Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar) which account for 30% of the beneficiary population are implementing the scheme for the first time and hence, their demand is still picking up.”
These state did not have any medical cover for the citizens before Ayushman Bharat was implemented and therefore, the bureaucrats in these states have no experience of implementation of a public health insurance scheme.
The performance of UP, with 11.8 million intended beneficiaries, almost same as that of Bihar, is better; as it has been able to enroll more than 3 lakh hospitals. As on February 4, the scheme saw registration of 806.1 million hospital admissions across 32 states and Union Territories since the launch of the scheme, entailing expenses of Rs 1,1285.64 crore, reported Economic Times, as per the data presented by the ministry to the parliament.
Bihar continues to remain one of the poorest regions of the country. Good politicians and policymakers pine for continuity so that their state or region could achieve sustainable economic growth. Bihari politicians got the same with Lalu Yadav’s reign of one and a half decade and now Nitish Kumar completed almost same time period on CM’s chair but, development avoided Bihar. The current batch of Bihari politicians (Lalu Yadav, Sharad Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Sushil Modi) learned the first lessons of politics under the tutelage of socialist icon, Jayprakash Narayan and ‘socialism’ remains evident in his economic policies. Over the last five decades, they had tried to distribute wealth and deliver public services rather than ‘encouraging’ creation of wealth.
Bihar is among the states with the highest percentage of population below poverty line. In 2013, 33.74 percentage of state population was living below poverty line compared to 21.92 of all India average. This means that almost one third of Biharis are still living below poverty line compared to one fifth of the Indian average. Majority of the population in the state are still employed in Agriculture. Industries and services companies don’t prefer the state due to ‘law and order’ problems and the lackluster attitude of state government.
Bihar has everything – excellent manpower, great connectivity with rest of India and a young population that wants to shed the tag of being the residents of a BIMARU state, because it has worst public leaders.