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Modi launches health insurance scheme for J&K residents, 21 lakh families to get benefit

Jammu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) ‘SEHAT’ scheme to extend health insurance coverage to all residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

The scheme, which was launched via videoconferencing, will benefit 21 lakh eligible people on the basis of Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011, who will be able to avail free treatment up to Rs 5 lakh medical expense.

Addressing the gathering virtually after launching the scheme, the Prime Minister said, “this is a historic day for J&K. Every person will get benefits of Ayushman Bharat scheme. I wanted to launch this scheme on Friday on the occasion of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birth anniversary.”

“Atalji had a special connection with J&K, which is now prospering on his way of ‘Insaniyat, Jamooriyat and Kashmiriyat,” said Mr Modi.

He said that about six lakh families were already getting the benefit of Ayushman Bharat Scheme and after the launch of ‘SEHAT’ health plan, all 21 lakh families will get the same benefit, adding, “the treatment of the beneficiary will not be limited to government and private hospitals in Jammu and Kashmir only. Rather, thousands of hospitals are connected under this scheme across the country, you will also get this facility.”

He however, also took a jibe saying that this facility cannot be availed in Kolkotta because their government does not want to register themselves with this scheme.

The Prime Minister however, also spoke about the alliance of PDP and BJP in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and also slammed the Congress for not conducting Panchayat polls in Puducherry.

“Once we were in power, but we abandoned it. Why? Because we didn’t want to be in power without ensuring welfare for people. So that panchayat polls could be conducted to strengthen democracy at the grass-root level,” he said and added that he is so glad that now the people who have been elected in DDC are the locals and they have been chosen for their work, not their titles or family names.

Hailing the successful completion of District Development Council (DDC) polls in J&K, the Prime Minister lauded the government machinery, security forces and above all showered praise on the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha under whose leadership, DDC polls were successfully conducted.

“The District Development Council polls have opened a new phase in Jammu and Kashmir. I saw hope in the eyes of each voter of Jammu and Kashmir. People of J&K have strengthened democracy with this process of DDC polls. I also want to congratulate the administration of Jammu and Kashmir. LG Manoj Sinha and his team deserve applause for this work. It is a step towards the fulfillment of Mahatma Gandhi’s dream,” said Mr Modi.

Citing the case of Puducherry where Congress is in power, PM Modi said that BJP government has ensured that polls take place in Jammu and Kashmir within a year of abrogation of Article 370, while Congress is not allowing Panchayat or Municipal polls in Puducherry despite being in power in the Union Territory since so many years.

“That party doesn’t believe in democracy and therefore they are not allowing the Panchayat polls in Puducherry. But will go on to give me lessons on the same. Some political parties will preach something else and will do something else. Look at Jammu and Kashmir, within a year of becoming a UT, we have conducted polls and the democracy has been strengthened upto the grass-root level,” he maintained.

The Prime Minister also interacted with some of the beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat scheme, who thanked him for launching the scheme, which gives ray of light to the people ailing from chronic diseases and cannot afford the treatment.

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