Around 20,000 Ayushman cards issued under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) were nullified in Gujarat as ineligible beneficiaries were found to have been added on these cards, a senior official said on Saturday.
The scheme, launched in 2018, provides Rs 5 lakh health insurance cover per family annually for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.
Under the scheme, meant for the poor and vulnerable sections of society, there is no cap on the number of family members that can be added as beneficiaries.
A team of the Gujarat health department and National Health Agency found several cases where ineligible persons, who were not members of the respective family, were shown as beneficiaries on the card, said Jayanti Ravi, principal secretary, health.
"We started discovering such cases from last July. They were first reported in Panchmahal district and since then we have nullified around 20,000 bogus Ayushman cards across 27 districts, and the operation is still underway," Ravi said.
Several FIRs were registered and arrests were made in connection with fraudulent cards, she said.
Fraudsters exploited a loophole in the software used to register beneficiaries, the senior official said.
"Under Gujarat's Mukhyamantri Amrutam Scheme, a precursor to the PMJAY, the software could not register more than five members per family. In the central scheme, there is no such cap," she said.
The scrutiny and action in such cases has resulted in decline in these frauds, she added.