Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Saturday urged the Odisha government to implement the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme in the state so that beneficiaries can avail benefits of cashless hospitalisation.

Speaking to the media after participating in the 4th annual convocation of AIIMS Bhubaneswar, he said the Health Ministry has also written to the state government in this regard.

The Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (PM-JAY) aims to achieve the target of universal health coverage and provide access to free and affordable healthcare services to the people residing in the remotest of the areas.

The scheme aims to provide free and cashless healthcare services up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year to over 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable families (over 53 crore beneficiaries) as per the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC)-2011 database.

The AB-PMJAY is implemented in all states and Union territories barring West Bengal, NCT of Delhi and Odisha.

Mandaviya said AIIMS Bhubaneswar has won the trust of the people in the field of quality healthcare not only in Odisha but also in adjoining states by fulfilling the mandate of equalising the regional imbalance in tertiary healthcare delivery.

"This is a manifestation of the commitment of government of India under the leadership of the prime minister where quality tertiary healthcare and medical education have been prioritised as part of the National Health Agenda," he said addressing AIIMS Bhubaneswar students.

Mandaviya said new initiatives like "Heal in India" and "Heal by India" will give an impetus to medical value travel in the country and also fulfill the demand for skilled and qualified medical and para-medical human resource across the globe.

Reiterating the commitment of the Union government towards improving healthcare services, he said, "The number of AIIMS in the country has increased from eight before 2014 to 23 at present".

The minister said "50 crore families have been given health security under the Ayushman Bharat - PMJAY scheme while affordable and quality medicines are being provided by more than 9,000 Jan Aushadhi Kendras across the country".

He urged the Odisha government to implement the AB-PMJAY in the state so that eligible beneficiaries can avail of the benefits of the scheme not only in the state but other states as well.