Maharashtra on Friday, became the second state in the country after Andhra Pradesh to implement the ambitious Rajiv Gandhi Lifesaving Health Scheme (RGLHS), expected to benefit over 20 million poor people by providing them with health insurance.
The RGLHS will help poor people who are below and above the poverty line to get critical health treatment for around 972 surgical procedures identified in the scheme.
The first phase of RGLHS will be implemented in eight districts - Mumbai, Mumbai Suburban District, Raigad, Nanded, Dhule, Sholapur, Gadchiroli, and Amravati - from September.
At a high-level meeting here on Friday afternoon, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan issued orders to initiate all administrative measures, including issuing identity cards to the beneficiaries, to implement the project all over the state by April 2012.
Elaborating the benefits of RGLHS, Health Minister Suresh Shetty said that the state government would pay the health insurance premium to insurance companies on behalf of the poor.
"Each such beneficiary family would be entitled to avail free medical treatment up to Rs.1.50 lakh per annum. Those patients with complaints of chronic diseases would also be included as beneficiaries in the scheme," he said.
The major diseases/illnesses and surgical procedures covered under this scheme would include cardiac, renal, brain and nervous system disorders, cancer and other health problems.
Incidentally, the erstwhile Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party government had launched Jeevandayi Yojana offering a similar facility for half a dozen major diseases and surgeries.
However, on account of income and other restrictions, its benefit reached a very small section of the poor population. Later, the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party rechristened it as the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayi Arogya Yojana (Rajiv Gandhi Lifesaving Health Scheme).
A large number of public, private and charitable hospitals and nursing shall be included all over the state to implement RGLHS, the official said.