New Delhi: Concerned over growing reports of hospitals and doctors allegedly siphoning of public funds and reportedly conducting fraud surgeries under the NDA government’s pet scheme Ayushman Bharat — which offers healthcare to 10 crore poor families — the Prime Minister has directed all states to set up anti-fraud units and take strict action against frauds being undertaken in the name of flagship project.

According to top sources, Mr Modi has also asked state governments to nominate an officer to share the details of such fraud cases taking place under their jurisdiction. He suggested that states should share such data with each other, sources  added.

Mr Modi made these observations while reviewing the status of Ayushman Bharat across the country just days before the first anniversary of the scheme, which was launched by him on Independence Day last year. Significantly, the Prime Minister also asked the Bihar government to improve its performance under the scheme. His critical remarks hold importance, as the BJP-JD(U) are running an alliance government in the state.

Incidentally it is learnt that just before the official launch of the scheme in August last year, the Prime Minister had directed Union health ministry officials to take care of the fact that no frauds are reported in the scheme and that it is not tampered with, sources said.

He is also learnt to have pointed out that the state governments of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Sikkim and Goa also need to improve their performances under Ayushman Bharat.

Top officials of the Union Health Ministry have been directed by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to analyse the performance and the impact of the scheme in the Aspirational Districts (backward districts across the country, which have been identified by the Centre and states for improvement), sources pointed out.

The Prime Minister is also said to have asked the states to spread awareness about the scheme among the people, so that cases of misappropriation of funds and frauds don’t take place in the name of Ayushman Bharat.

In a year since Ayushman Bharat scheme was launched by Mr Modi across the country, several cases of hospitals reportedly conducting fake surgeries, doctors allegedly giving wrong diagnosis, and misuse of official funds meant for the scheme, have been identified by various monitoring bodies in many states, sources pointed out.