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Mamata Didi’s Politics over Ayushman Bharat Affects Health Indicators in West Bengal

Economic Survey 2021 which was released today dedicated a significant portion to state of healthcare in India. In its chapter on Ayushman Bharat, empirical evidence points out the large benefits that the scheme has brought to India.

To gauge the actual impact of Ayushman Bharat on the health outcomes, the Economic Survey carried out a difference in difference analysis. It measured the outcomes measured by National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16) and the National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-20) between states that enacted Ayushman Bharat (Bihar, Sikkim and Assam) and a state that did not implement Ayushman Bharat (West Bengal). It is pertinent to note here that these 4 states share similar demographic characteristics.

Across almost all categories measured, healthcare indicators in Bihar, Sikkim and Assam improved with introduction of Ayushman Bharat while across most categories, there was significantly lesser improvement or no improvement in West Bengal.

Data Proves the Impact of Ayushman Bharat

Proportion of Households with Health Insurance

  • Proportion of households with health insurance access in Bihar, Assam and Sikkim increased by 89% from 2015-16 to 2019-20
  • Proportion of households with access to health insurance in the same time period for West Bengal decreased by 12%

 Infant Mortality Rate

  • From 2015-16 to 2019-20, infant mortality rates declined by 28% for the three neighbouring states of Bihar assam and Sikkim
  • While Bengal only registered a decrease of 20% in infant mortality rate

 Under-5 Mortality Rate

  • while Bengal saw a fall of 20% in its Under-5 mortality rate
  • In contrast, Bihar, Assam and Sikkim witnessed 27% fall in Under-5 mortality rate

Source: Economic Survey 2021, Chapter-9


Women Health Indicators

  • Modern methods of contraception, female sterilization and pill usage went up by 36%, 22% and 28% respectively in Bihar, Assam and Sikkim
  • However, the respective changes were negligible for West Bengal
  • West Bengal also did not witness any significant decline in unmet need for spacing between consecutive kids
  • In contrast, Bihar, Assam and Sikkim recorded a 37% decline

 Sex Ratio

  • From NHFS 4 to NFHS 5, West Bengal’s sex ratio at birth improved by just 1.35%
  • In contrast, the corresponding improvement for the three neighbouring states was 6.28%


Child Vaccinations

  • Proportion of children aged 12-23 months who received BCG vaccine increased by 1% in West Bengal as compared to 4% per cent increase in Bihar, Assam and Sikkim
  • Proportion of children with age 12-23 months who have received three doses of penta or hepatitis B vaccine increased by only 5% in West Bengal compared to 19% increase in the adjoining states.
  • The only indicator which worsened was the proportion of children aged 9-35 months who received a vitamin-A dose in the last six months. The decline was sharper in West Bengal (-6 per cent) vis-à-vis the adjoining states (-2 per cent)

Source: Economic Survey 2021, Chapter-9


Treatment of Childhood Diseases


  • Proportion of children with diarrhoea in the 2 weeks preceding the survey who received oral rehydration salts (ORS) increased by 16% in West Bengal, it increased by 31% in the adjoining states, an increase of almost double magnitude


  • Similarly, the proportion of children with diarrhoea in the 2 weeks preceding the survey taken to a health facility or health provider showed negligible improvement in West Bengal, whereas it registered an increase of 10% in adjoining states


Awarness About AIDS and Condoms among women

  • Proportion of women having comprehensive knowledge of HIV/AIDS increased significantly in the three states which adopted PM-JAY (Bihar, Sikkim, Assam)


  • In contrast, this proportion declined by 1% in West Bengal, which did not adopt PM-JAY


  • Similarly, proportion of women who found out that consistent use of condom would reduce HIV/AIDS in West Bengal increased moderately by 12% compared to the sharp increase of 43% in the three adjoining states

Source: Economic Survey 2021, Chapter-9

Data here has spoken a thousand words. From Maternal health Indicators to child health Indicators, from awareness about AIDS to households with insurance coverage, West Bengal has seen significantly lesser improvement that its neighbouring states with Ayushman Bharat.

It is time for Mamata Banerjee to stop playing politics over people’s health and enrol the state in Ayushman Bharat. Health of common man is more important than ego and electoral fortunes of politician.