Over 7.49L beneficiaries under AB-PMJAY linked to a single mobile number: CAG report

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India. (IANS Photo)

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India. (IANS Photo)

New Delhi, August 10 (IANS): A total of 7,49,820 beneficiaries under the Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) were linked to a single mobile number 9999999999, as per a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report. 

The CAG's audit report on AB-PMJAY which was presented in the Parliament earlier this week, also revealed that 1,39,300 beneficiaries were registered on an invalid mobile number 8888888888 and 96,046 beneficiaries connected to another mobile number 9000000000. 

"Mobile numbers are significant for searching records related to any beneficiary in the database, who may approach the registration desk without the ID. In case of loss of e-card, identification of the beneficiary may also become difficult. This may result in denial of scheme benefits to eligible beneficiaries as well as denial of pre and post-admission communication causing inconvenience to them," the CAG said in its report. 

It said: "National Health Authority (NHA), while agreeing with audit observation, stated (August 2022) that with the deployment of BIS (Beneficiary Identification System) 2.0, this issue shall be resolved. Further, the BIS 2.0 system has been configured so that more than certain number of families cannot use the same mobile number. This shall arrest the prevalence of entering 'random numbers' which constitute the overwhelming cases of mobile number inconsistency." 

The CAG report also disclosed that multiple beneficiaries were linked with same or erroneous Aadhaar. 

A total of 1,285 beneficiaries were linked to Aadhaar number 000000000000. 

The report also revealed that ineligible households possessing AB-PMJAY cards and availing treatment. 

"As per NHA records, 7.87 crore beneficiary households were registered, constituting 73 per cent of the targeted households of 10.74 crore (November 2022).In the absence of adequate validation controls, errors were noticed in beneficiary database i.e., invalid names, unrealistic date of birth, duplicate PMJAY IDs, unrealistic size of family members in a household etc. Ineligible households were found registered as PMJAY beneficiaries," it said. 

PMJAY's guidebook for State Health Agencies (SHAs) states that beneficiaries whose household member is a government employee should be automatically excluded from the list of eligible beneficiaries, it added. 

"In Haryana, 114 pensioners were included as beneficiaries and had availed treatment under the scheme costing Rs 26.81 lakh. In Karnataka, 1,558 pensioners were included as beneficiaries. They had availed treatment under the scheme costing Rs 4.65 crore," the CAG said in its report. 

The report also highlighted several pensioners from Himachal Pradesh , Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu also availed the benefits of the scheme. Delayed action in weeding out the ineligible beneficiaries resulted in ineligible persons availing benefits of the scheme, it added. 

The AB-PMJAY provides a health cover up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation services. It provides cashless and paperless access to services for the beneficiaries at the point of service.