Amid the gloom and doom brought by COVID-19 pandemic, Rajasthan is on its way to roll out Universal Health Insurance Coverage scheme starting May 1. The registration for the scheme is slated to start from April 1. On Thursday, April 1, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot took to Twitter to announce the cashless Mediclaim scheme for each family in the state. The insurance scheme is branded as the Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme. With this healthcare scheme, Rajasthan has become the country’s first state to provide a health insurance to all the families in the state.

“#Rajasthan has become the first state in the country, where each family will get a health insurance of Rs. 5 lakh each year. People can get registered and be assured of cashless treatment,” Rajasthan CM Mr. Ashok Gehlot wrote in one of his tweets.

In another tweet, the CM gave a brief background of the scheme and wrote, “Registrations for Rajasthan Govt’s cashless treatment for all – Mukhyamantri Chiranjeevi Swasthya Bima Yojana have begun in the state from today. It is one of our biggest health care schemes aimed at providing medical relief to all residents of #Rajasthan.”

It should be noted that the scheme will provide a cashless treatment to Rajasthan citizens which includes a 7-day admission and 15-day post-discharge expenses such as consultation fee, medication expenses and tests. Each family will have to pay a sum of Rs. 850 which will give them an insurance cover of Rs. 5 lakhs. The scheme was first introduced by the Rajasthan CM in the State Budget proceedings that took place earlier this year.

In a virtual event, Mr. Gehlot recently emphasized on the state’s priorities and said, “Development works, water, electricity, education, irrigation, social welfare and other sectors are also on the government’s priority list, but health is the topmost priority area for us.”

The Rajasthan CM in the event also spoke briefly on how the state run ‘Nirogi Rajasthan’ campaign that initiated in December 2019 helped the state in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis in 2020 and 2021. He also said that the Rajasthan government is now entertaining the idea of striking partnerships with foreign universities for nurse-training courses. He also claimed that in his state the seats at medical colleges for courses such as MBBS and MD have increased. Additionally, the Rajasthan government is also formulating a community health centres (CHCs) model.

Earlier this year, CM Gehlot introduced the universal health insurance scheme on February 24 in the Assembly. The CM in his speech said that the Mukhyamantri Chiranjeevi Yojana will have Rs. 3,500 crores in the 2021-2022 financial year wherein Rs. 5,00,000 will be provided for all Rajasthan families. Gehlot also announced a Back-To-Work scheme where efforts will be made in the private sector to provide more work from home jobs to trained women workers who prior to working had to leave their jobs to take care of their families.

Another important announcement came in the form of CM Gehlot increasing the MLA LAD (MLA Local Area Development) fund to Rs. 5 crores, which was Rs. 2.25 crores before the announcement. However, it was not state as to when the idea will be implemented.

Turning our focus back to the Universal Health Care, the UHC is based on equality, where state policies are formulated such that, they have a legal obligation to ensure that the citizens of the respective states get timely and affordable healthcare. But when it comes to allocating resources for health, the country has always been slammed by economic experts from across the world. In 2019, India’s public health spending was only 26.95 compared to the 59.54% which was the global average. It was found out that only 20 countries spend less in health care than India.

Thus, it can be concluded that Rajasthan’s move is a positive one and if implemented well, other states too can follow the suit and provide universal health care to its citizens.