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NHA seeks Aadhaar, ration card database from States/UTs to extend pool of Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY beneficiaries

New Delhi [India], February 14 (ANI): The National Health Authority (NHA), which implements Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), on Monday said that it has undertaken an exercise to integrate beneficiary database under different schemes to upgrade its own database for the better implementation of the scheme.

The AB-PMJAY provides health insurance of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year is provided for secondary and tertiary care-related hospitalizations. The Ministry stated that nearly 10.74 crore beneficiary families under the scheme have been identified from the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) of 2011 based on 6 deprivation and 11 occupational criteria across rural and urban areas, respectively.

The majority of beneficiaries from SECC, 2011 are also eligible for benefits under the National Food Security Portal (NFSA), informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The NHA is working on integrating the SECC 2011 beneficiary database with NFSA, which will enable beneficiaries to seek information regarding their entitlement under the AB PM-JAY using their ration card number.

“NHA is also working on a proposal to use Fair Price Shops or Ration shops for providing information related to the scheme and entitlement under the scheme to eligible beneficiaries. This will provide an additional avenue to beneficiaries along with the existing Common Service Center, UTI-ITSL etc. for card creation. This will make the beneficiary identification process very convenient,” stated the Ministry.

However, the existing beneficiary data available with various government welfare schemes can be meaningfully utilized only if a common identifier is available.

According to the Health Ministry, Aadhaar being a common identity across the majority of Government databases will enable this integration. Further, Aadhaar also ensures certainty regarding beneficiary identification through e-KYC. e-KYC enables paperless delivery of services in a targeted manner.

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In this direction, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has issued OMs dated 27 October 2021, 6 December 2021, and 14 December 2021. These OMs have enabled sharing of Aadhaar (collected under any scheme) among different departments of Government. As per the OM, different departments of the Central Government, administering Section 7 or Section 4(4)(b)(ii) schemes, can be treated as a single entity under the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.

Accordingly, the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DoFPD) has issued OM File No.14(1)/2018-Comp.Cell (E-342358) dated January 6 wherein States and Union Territories were requested to provide necessary assistance and cooperation for sharing of the NFSA ration card data along with the corresponding Aadhaar with NHA. “The onus of ensuring the compliance of various provisions and regulations regarding data protection, data storage, and data privacy, etc and in particular, seeking consent will lie with the user departments i.e. in this case NHA,” stated the Ministry on Monday.

NHA is following up with States/UTs regarding database integration. States and UTs are providing necessary assistance in this regard. None of the States or UTs has expressed any reservation to NHA in sharing the data. The process of database sharing has already commenced in several States and UTs. (ANI)