Mohali, Aug 20 (IANS) In a tribute to late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his 75th birth anniversary, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday launched his government’s flagship universal health insurance scheme, benefiting nearly 46 lakh families — 76 per cent of the total population.
E-cards were handed over to the first 11 beneficiaries from Mohali district to kick-off the ‘Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana’ which would entitle beneficiaries to avail annual cashless treatment of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year, including pre-existing diseases.
The scheme is aimed at ensuring the best possible treatment to the beneficiaries free of cost.
With this scheme, Punjab has become the first state in the country to offer medical insurance cover to the maximum number of its people, the Chief Minister said, dedicating the welfare initiative to Rajiv Gandhi.
His government was committed to fulfilling the aspirations of the people with the vision of the country’s youngest Prime Minister, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Amarinder Singh said it had taken his government several months to draw the roadmap for the implementation of the cashless treatment scheme to cover 76 per cent of its population, in sharp contrast to the 12 per cent that would have been covered otherwise under the Central government’s Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana scheme.
Similar schemes in other states have covered up to a 30 per cent of their population, he said.
Giving details of the ‘Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana’, the Chief Minister said it would cover a total of 20.43 lakh smart ration card holder families, in addition to 14.86 lakh families enrolled as per Socio Economic Caste Census Data, and 46,000 small traders, among others.
The scheme has also been extended to around 4,500 journalists accredited to the state or those holding yellow cards.
The Chief Minister also recalled Rajiv Gandhi’s proactive role in sanctioning approval for setting the first multi-national project in Punjab in the form of Pepsi.
“I was then the Agriculture Minister and had submitted a proposal to PMO for setting up this plant, which was vital for state’s diversification plans. I still remember how, exactly on the eighth day, I got a message that the Prime Minister wanted to meet me and the project was approved,” he said.