Ayushmaan Bharat appoints R S Sharma as new CEO, to replace Indu Bhushan
In a surprise development, the government has decided on a top-level change at the National Health Authority (NHA), which is responsible for implementing the country’s flagship public health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat or Pradhan Mantri
In a surprise development, the government has decided on a top-level change at the National Health Authority (NHA), which is responsible for implementing the country’s flagship public health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat or Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.
Indu Bhushan, CEO of NHA, would be replaced by RS Sharma, former chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), it is learnt. Sharma had recently been named as the chairperson of an empowered committee for Covid-19 vaccine delivery technology platform—Co-WIN. He was also inducted into the high-level vaccine administration panel headed by VK Paul.
Bhushan, who’s stepping down as his three-year term comes to an end, was not available to talk about his future plans.
Bhushan, who had a long stint overseas working with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, took charge of the flagship health scheme in 2018. An IIT graduate, he’s an ex-IAS from 1983 batch of Rajasthan cadre.
In an interview to Business Standard last week, Bhushan had spoken about the hit that Ayushman Bharat had to take during the pandemic as people stopped going to hospitals for other diseases unless absolutely necessary. He called 2020 a zero year for the scheme.
‘’With Covid starting in our short life cycle, we stagnated in the first quarter of 2020. In the second quarter after March, we went down drastically—about 60 per cent—and it remained low for a long time. It’s only in the last quarter of 2020 that we started growing again.’’ While hoping for a rebound in the health services, he had said the health budget should see a higher allocation this time.
‘’We will be making some progress this year towards the policy of increasing the health budget to 2.5 per cent of the GDP,’’ he had said.
The former Trai chief Sharma, who would take charge of the NHA from February 1, will have to ensure a smooth rollout of the National Digital Health Mission on data privacy. The 1978 batch IAS was earlier at the helm of affairs when Aadhar was being rolled out by the Unique Identification Authority of India. This is apart from the other challenging assignment of meeting the delivery targets for Covid vaccine by fixing the glitches in the tech platform Co-WIN.