NHA signs MoU with MeitY to issue new Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY cards to beneficiaries for free

The newly signed MOU mandates that the beneficiaries under the AB-PM-JAY scheme will not pay any amount to the Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLE) operating the CSCs for the issuance of the Ayushman card

New Delhi: The National Health Authority (NHA) on 20th February signed an MoU with Common Service Centres (CSCs) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to generate new PVC beneficiary cards called “Ayushman cards” under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) and further streamline and ease the process of service delivery under the scheme.
Eligible beneficiaries will now be able to get their Ayushman cards issued free of cost (at no charge to the beneficiary) and will no longer be required to pay the nominal fee of Rs. 30 per card that they had to pay until now to the Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) field-level operators under the Common Service Centres (CSC) across the country. Ayushman cards generated at any of the PM-JAY empanelled hospitals, however, were issued for free and will continue to be issued free of charge. The MOU was signed by Dr Ram Sewak Sharma, Chief Executive Officer, National Health Authority and Dr. Dinesh Tyagi, Managing Director, Common Service Centre (CSC) e-Governance Services India Limited at the NHA office in New Delhi.
Signing the MOU, Dr. Ram Sewak Sharma, CEO, National Health Authority said, “I am pleased to be part of this significant development for Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY which will have a large positive impact on the delivery and uptake of the scheme. With the introduction of special PVC Ayushman cards issued completely free and replacement of paper-based cards, beneficiaries will now be able to store them easily at home. While having a physical card is not an essential requirement to avail health services under PM-JAY, we have seen that possession of these cards give a sense of entitlement to the beneficiaries and empower them to rightfully demand free healthcare services under the scheme. AB PM-JAY scheme card have become a symbol of social and economic security to them in case of medical emergencies.”
Taking about the agreement with CSC, Dr. Sharma added, “This MoU will further deepen the partnership between the National Health Authority and Common Service Centre through which over 9.15 crore beneficiary cards have been issued so far using our own IT system (an additional 4.68 cards were issued by the States using their respective IT systems). It will strengthen the delivery of affordable and quality health services to crores of poor citizens and their families, especially those residing in the remotest corners of the country. Common Service Centre has become an icon of digital empowerment. Through this initiative, we look forward to leveraging the large network of CSC VLEs to make sure that benefits reach the intended beneficiaries across the country.”
Since the launch of AB PM-JAY on 23rd September 2018, the Ayushman cards (earlier called as Golden cards or e-cards) carrying a unique ID for every beneficiary have been generated through the Beneficiary Identification System of NHA at the Common Service Centres, empanelled hospitals, UTI Infrastructure Technology and Services Limited (UTIITSL) and other private agencies. Until now, the VLEs of Common Service Centres (CSC) charged a processing fee of Rs. 30/- per card from the eligible beneficiaries. While the card is not an essential requirement to avail healthcare benefits under the AB PM-JAY scheme, it is part of mechanism for the identification and verification of beneficiaries to enable seamless delivery of health services to the patients and prevent any kind of malpractice and fraud from happening. Post verification of eligibility, a paper-based Ayushman card, containing details such as PMJAY ID, name, age etc., was issued to beneficiaries until now.
The newly signed MOU mandates that the beneficiaries under the AB-PM-JAY scheme will not pay any amount to the Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLE) operating the CSCs for the issuance of the Ayushman card. On spot, paper card will be issued to beneficiaries, however, a printed PVC based Ayushman card will be provided to the beneficiaries subsequently at zero cost. The PVC card can be collected from the CSC VLE centre,  where verification process was undertaken after few days.
Sharing his views, Dr. Dinesh Tyagi, CEO, CSC e-Governance Services India Limited said, “It is an honour to extend our full support to our long-standing partner National Health Authority through this MoU, we will be better able to reach and ensure larger coverage of beneficiaries. Doing away with the Rs. 30 processing charged for each Ayushman card will have a high impact at the last mile as the poor still see paying for a Government scheme card as an expense they can avoid. Taking the momentum forward, beneficiaries can visit any of the CSCs across India to check and validate their entitlement and get the benefit of the scheme absolutely free of cost.”
Under the MOU, it has been decided that the National Health Authority (NHA) will pay a fixed cost of Rs. 20/- (exclusive of taxes) only for first-time Ayushman card issuance to Common Service Centres (CSC), and other such associated organisations. For issuance of duplicate card or reprints, Rs. 15 (excluding taxes) shall be charged from the beneficiary by the Common Service Centres (CSC). The PVC cards will be manufactured at a centralised location to ensure uniformity and quality of the Ayushman cards distributed Pan-India. The State specific instructions/information would be printed at the back of the e-card. These will be dispatched to the VLEs who have generated the PM-JAY ID, from where PVC Ayushman Card can be collected after bio-authentication.