8-district pilot a success, RGJAY to step into 27 districts

Phase II to be kicked off early next yr.

After the pilot phase of the Rajiv Gandi Jeevandayee Aarogya Yojana (RGJAY), which is being described as a success, the state government is getting ready for the second phase which will be on a much larger scale and will cover 27 districts. The first phase which had taken off in July covered eight districts, Amravati, Dhule, Gadchiroli, Mumbai and Mumbai suburban, Nanded, Raigad and Solapur.

The distribution phase saw initial hiccups with only 40-45 per cent health cards being distributed in Mumbai. The numbers caught up in the other districts with Gadchiroli seeing almost 90 per cent health card distribution. At the end of the three-month distribution, 49 lakh health cards were disbursed to beneficiaries in the eight districts.

"As with any major project, there were certain hurdles we experienced in the first phase. However, these are lessons learnt and we are brainstorming on modifications that can be carried out in the second phase," said K Venkatesh, CEO of the RGJAY.

The state government is already in the process of recruiting staff such as district-level coordinators and data entry operators for the next phase slated for kick-off in early 2013. The next phase will address medical needs of around 2.2 crore below poverty line people. Besides ration shops and anganwadi workers for distribution of health cards, the state is also looking at setting up 2,000 separate centres for the task.

"The second phase is on a much larger scale and there has to be meticulous planning. So far the response from the pilot phase has been very good and we want to replicate that in the second phase too," Venkatesh said.

Beneficiaries of this cashless hospitalisation scheme need to be have yellow ration cards (families below the poverty line) or orange ration cards ( annual family income below 1 lakh). They will be able to avail themselves of 972 medical procedures including kidney transplants free of cost by producing the health card. Of all the beneficiaries covered till date, the maximum has been for cardiology with 19 per cent needing services in cardiac care.

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