Bhubaneswar: Inclusion of eligible beneficiaries in “Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) and greater awareness about the scheme, especially among rural communities, will bolster the Odisha government’s own flagship health insurance programme, revealed a joint study conducted by some leading development agencies. BSKY aims to provide universal health coverage. It lays special emphasis on the health protection of economically vulnerable families. The online study titled “Implementation of BSKY Scheme in Odisha” was conducted by Atmashakti Trust and its allies Odisha Shramajeebee Mancha and Mahila Shramajeebee Mancha, Odisha.
Conducted between July and August 2022, the study covered 12 districts such as Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Kandhamal, Nayagarh, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Bolangir, Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, and Mayurbhanj. These districts have sizeable numbers of tribal and Dalit populations. The study revealed that almost 13.8 percent of BSKY card holders have already received health services.
Of the 20,128 respondents who participated in this survey, 9.5 percent of them said that their smart cards still remained at the Gram Panchayats (GP) offices. “At least 7 percent of respondents have said that they do not have any information on where to go to receive the card and who will issue the card to them. Also, 3.5 percent of respondents have alleged that local authorities forced them to pay a bribe to get the BSKY card,” the study said. The survey report revealed that though families still have BSKY cards, 24.2 percent of the people are facing issues in availing of the services. “As many as 33.3 percent of the respondents said that they cannot avail themselves of benefits under the scheme on time, whereas others complained that hospitals are not extending services even though they have a health card. Similarly, while 17.8 percent of respondents informed that they do not have time to avail the services for specific reasons, 37.5 percent have admitted that they do not have proper information and awareness on how to use services under the scheme,” the report said.
“BSKY scheme is a bold initiative as it caters to the healthcare needs of the economically vulnerable families of the state, which is praiseworthy. However, looking at the findings of the study report, the inclusion of many families in the scheme and awareness among communities of the scheme’s benefits and service details will prove crucial in its effective implementation. Secondly, the government must focus on health infrastructure to cater to the healthcare needs of the people at the last mile,” said Ms. Ruchi Kashyap, Executive Trustee of Atmashakti Trust, which conducted the study.