BJP politicians have protested the continued refusal of the governing Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to implement the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) – Ayushman Bharat – in Delhi by calling a stir. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejiriwal has declined to implement Ayushman Bharat in favour of the state government’s own Mohalla Clinics initiative, drawing the ire of the state’s BJP chapter.
“The Ayushman Bharat scheme is the biggest welfare scheme ever launched in the world,” said Manoj Tiwari, who led the state’s BJP organisation during 2017 local elections in which it scored a significant victory. “Kejriwal is depriving people of the huge benefits of this mega health scheme under which the central government is providing free treatment up to Rs 5 lakh in a year. This is a big boon for people, but due to his ego, Kejriwal is not implementing the scheme. Only because of Kejriwal, around fifty lakh people of Delhi are not able to get free quality healthcare.”
The stir by the BJP in the state will raise awareness of the initiative and its lack of implementation in the state, as well as pledge its intention to implement Ayushman Bharat within fifteen days of coming to power should it win the forthcoming Delhi Legislative Assembly elections. The Delhi government had previously seemed amenable to potentially implementing Ayushman Bharat in the state, but has not taken such action since despite missives from the Centre to do so.
Delhi state government officials have insisted that Mohalla Clinics is a superior health model to Ayushman Bharat, although the former has experienced difficulties in its rollout. Failure to build the pledged number of primary health centres, difficulty securing land and decreased uptake are among the issues plaguing the scheme.
Protests by the BJP are not the only difficulty faced by the Delhi government concerning health models in recent weeks. Pratyush Kanth, who heads the media cell of the Delhi BJP, and Surya Prakash Khatri, who heads the legal cell, filed a petition before the Delhi High Court last week, calling on the Delhi government to be compelled to implement Ayushman Bharat. The Delhi High Court has sought a response from the state government on the same.