Bhopal: The Congress-led Madhya Pradesh government would be replacing Centre’s Ayushman Bharat health scheme with its very own ‘Maha Ayushman’, said reports.

State Health Minister Tulsi Silawat said the scheme, to be launched on Independence Day under the Right to Health for all the residents of the state, will offer enhanced health cover for families below the poverty line as also the middle-class.

“The new scheme will be an improved version of Ayushman Bharat,” Silawat was reported to have said.

The Maha Ayushman scheme differs from the central scheme in that it will cater to a larger number of beneficiaries, said a senior health department official. He said that under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, only the socially economically weaker section (SEWS) families are allowed to be registered.

“Under the new scheme, 4.8 million families of the middle class and upper middle class will be added as beneficiaries, taking the total beneficiaries to 18.8 million,” he said.

He also added that another key feature of the new scheme would be an increase in the health insurance coverage; from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7.5 lakh for SEWS while others will get a benefit of up to Rs 2.5 lakh.

“The accidental cover of Rs 2.5 lakh for SWES will also be included in the scheme which is not a part of the Centre’s scheme,” the official said.

The state government will need about Rs 1,500 crore more to implement the new scheme. This will be in addition to the Centre’s shares of premium to insurance companies to provide health benefit under Ayushman Bharat.

Silawat said a government-run trust will be incorporated for managing the new scheme and providing state government’s share of the insurance premium for the additional and existing beneficiaries.

The scheme will be free for those below the poverty line but middle class and upper-class families will need to pay a nominal premium, said the minister. “The amount of premium they (middle and upper middle class) will have is yet to be decided,” he said.

Meanwhile, it has not been easy to implement the Central scheme here as most hospitals have opted out. A daily quoted an official, deputed to run the Centre’s scheme, as saying the state government was finding it tough to implement the Centre’s scheme as most of the private hospitals had refused to be a part.

“The Ayushman Bharat is limited to minor illnesses like fever, typhoid, cataract and also caesarian delivery etc in MP as the private hospitals have refused to serve under the scheme due to package rates. However, the new scheme will address this problem too,” he said.

However, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Gopal Bhargava said the Congress government in MP had failed in governance and were just changing names of good schemes to dupe people. “But they can’t fool the people,” he told a daily.