By Elton Gomes
On September 23, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in the launch of two landmark events. First being the inauguration of Sikkim’s first and India’s 100th airport and the second being the launch of the Ayushman Bharat healthcare scheme in Jharkhand.
PM Modi to inaugurate Sikkim airport
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Sikkim on Sunday to inaugurate the state’s first airport located at Pakyong. Sikkim’s newly-constructed airport has been built at an elevation of about 4,700 feet. The price of the airport is estimated to be Rs 350 crore. Located 30 kilometres from Gangtok, the airport will boost tourism in the North Eastern state. Once commercial planes begin landing on the airport, it will become India’s 100th operational airport.
“I am very happy to share that the Hon’ble prime minister is visiting Sikkim for the second time and this time he will be inaugurating the Pakyong Airport which is ready and has undergone trial on two occasions in the month of March 2018,” Chief Secretary A.K. Shrivastava said, PTI reported.
Ayushman Bharat to be launched from Jharkhand
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also introduce the Centre’s flagship Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) from Jharkhand. The healthcare scheme aims to provide a coverage of Rs five lakh per family annually, thus benefiting more than 10 crore poor families.
Deprived rural families and identified occupational category of urban workers’ families are set to gain from the scheme. The eligibility for the scheme is currently being decided on the basis of the deprivation criteria in the database of the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC).
V.K. Paul, the chief architect of the scheme and NITI Aayog member, said, “The prime minister will launch the scheme on September 23 but effectively it will become operational from September 25 on the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay,” PTI reported.
The Centre will be undergoing a publicity drive to create awareness for the Ayushman Bharat scheme, urging states to ensure that all patients are informed of the scheme once they reach the hospital for treatment beginning from this Sunday.
Prior to the scheme being launched in Jharkhand, a phone helpline number has been set up and a link has been provided on Ayushman Bharat’s portal for people to check if their eligibility in the scheme. As the launch in Jharkhand approaches, mass SMS messages might be sent to beneficiaries to inform them of the introduction of such a scheme, a senior government official told the Economic Times.
Chhattisgarh begins a pilot run of Ayushman Bharat
The state of Chhattisgarh has already conducted a pilot of the Ayushman Bharat scheme on September 17. The pilot test comes after the scheme was launched in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district this April by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The pilot run of the scheme started in 1,033 hospitals across the state,” Chhattisgarh’s health commissioner R Prasanna said, Business Standard reported. Prasanna added that out of the chosen hospitals, 608 are public, while 425 are private. The state ensured that all preparations are made for the successful execution of the scheme. Smart cards have been prepared, and authorities are ready to begin distribution after receiving the Centre’s approval.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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