Publicity over Performance

.

On 23 September 2018, Ayushman Bharat Yojana (ABY) was launched in India to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) in the country. There was much build-up around it. It was first supposed to be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Independence Day celebrations from the Red Fort, then the date was pushed to 25 September, the birth anniversary of Deendayal Upadhyaya, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) thinker and co-founder of the Jan Sangh, which later became the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This later date was then preponed to 23 September, when the Prime Minister launched it from Jharkhand.

Choosing the right launch date, name, and place seems to hold a lot of importance for the Modi government, and may be more important than even the planning or execution of the scheme. This careful consideration of the announcement date and time echoes the care taken in announcing the goods and services tax (GST) in 2017 and the demonetisation of banknotes in 2016. The GST was launched at the stroke of midnight on 30 June 2017, echoing the drama of the announcement of independence during a similar stroke of midnight in August 1947. Demonetisation was similarly unveiled during a live unscheduled television broadcast on the evening of 8 November 2016. While the rest of the world was glued to the television, watching (in horror or jubilation) Donald Trump win an unexpected victory over Hillary Clinton in the United States (US), in India, people watched in similar horror or jubilation (depending on their scale of privilege) as Modi convinced us that demonetisation was a necessary measure to protect the country from black money and terrorist activities. And, now that the obvious loopholes in the logic of demonetisation and the execution of GST are coming to light, we have a new shiny bauble to be dazzled by: “Modicare.”

To read the full text Login

Get instant access

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

₹826for India

$50for overseas users

Updated On : 2nd Nov, 2018

Comments

(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

Back to Top