PMJAY Must Step on the Gas - Slow Expansion Hurts India
By Abantika Ghosh
Universal health coverage has been India’s bugbear for years. That is why the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, or PMJAY, in 2018 was nothing short of a momentous first step. Almost five years on, PMJAY has not even reached half of its target population. Talks of a health cover for the “missing middle” – the approximately 400 million Indians that NITI Aayog estimates has no health cover and are too “rich” to be eligible for PMJAY – have remained just that. Now an official government document has unveiled that 90 million Indians spend between a tenth to a quarter of their family income on healthcare. Worryingly still, the proportion of Indians in this bracket has gone up between 2017-18 and 2022-23, says the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation’s Sustainable Development Goals National Indicator Framework Progress Report 2023.