Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

ASHA and Anganwadi Workers/Helpers in Ayushman Bharat Scheme


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ayushman Bharat Scheme, ASHA and Anganwadi Workers

Mains level : ASHA and Anganwadi Workers



  • Following the Centre’s decision to extend health coverage under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme to Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and Anganwadi workers and helpers, the Health Ministry has initiated the process of enrollment.
  • The Health Ministry has received Aadhaar details of 23 lakh Anganwadi workers and helpers and over three lakh ASHA workers from various states.

About Ayushman Bharat Scheme

Launch 2018, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW)
Aim Achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by providing promotive, preventive, curative, palliative, and rehabilitative care.
Funding Centrally Sponsored Scheme (expenditure shared between Central and State governments)
Coverage Targets over 10 crore families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) based on SECC (Socio-Economic Caste Census)
Implementing Agency National Health Authority (NHA)
  1. Health and Wellness Centres (HWC) providing primary care services.
  2. Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) offering health cover of Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year.
Coverage Details
  • Covers secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.
  • Includes pre-hospitalization and post-hospitalization expenses.
  • No restrictions on family size, age, or gender.
Portability of Benefits Benefits are portable across the country, allowing cashless treatment at any empanelled public or private hospital in India.
Digital Overture Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM): Launched in 2021 to provide Unique Digital Health IDs (UHID) for all Indian citizens, facilitating electronic access to health records.

Significance of ASHA Program

  • Workforce: As of December 31, 2023, there were over 13 lakh Anganwadi workers and over 10 lakh Anganwadi helpers in the country, along with 9.83 lakh ASHAs in position.
  • Program Scale: India’s ASHA program is recognized as the world’s largest community volunteer program, operating across 35 states and union territories.
  • Role of ASHAs: The ASHA program serves as a vital component of community healthcare, facilitating access to care and playing a crucial role in the prevention and management of COVID-19.
  • Contribution Acknowledged: ASHAs have been recognized for their substantial contribution to improving access to care for communities and are integral to various community platforms under the National Health Mission.

Ayushman Bharat Scheme Impact

  • Beneficiary Coverage: Currently, 55 crore individuals corresponding to 12 crore families are covered under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, with some states/UTs expanding the beneficiary base at their own cost.
  • Enrollment and Hospital Admissions: The government has issued approximately 28.45 crore Ayushman cards, authorizing over 6.11 crore hospital admissions amounting to ₹78,188 crores.
  • Hospital Empanelment: A total of 26,901 hospitals, including 11,813 private hospitals, have been empanelled under AB-PMJAY to provide healthcare services to scheme beneficiaries.
  • Gender Equity: The scheme ensures gender equity in access to healthcare services, with women accounting for approximately 49% of Ayushman cards created and 48% of total authorized hospital admissions.


[1] Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA)

Launch Year 2005-06 as part of the National Rural Health Mission.

Later extended to urban areas with the National Urban Health Mission in 2013.

Program Scope Largest community health worker program globally, serving as health care facilitators, service providers, and health awareness generators.
Number of ASHAs Over 10.52 Lakh ASHAs across all states/UTs (except Goa) as of June 2022.
Role Provide maternal and child health services, family planning, and services under National Disease Control Programme.
Service Population Serve populations of approximately 1,000 in rural areas and 2,000 in urban areas, with local adjustments based on workload.
Selection Criteria
  • Primarily women residents of the village, preferably aged 25 to 45.
  • Literacy preferred and relaxed standards for tribal, hilly, or desert areas.
Employment Classification Considered honorary/volunteer positions rather than government workers.


[2] Anganwadi Programme

  • Started by the Government of India in 1975
  • Part of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)
Objective To combat child hunger and malnutrition
Implementation Centrally sponsored scheme implemented by States/UTs
Services Provided
  1. Supplementary nutrition
  2. Pre-school non-formal education
  3. Immunization
  4. Health check-up
  5. Nutrition and health education
  6. Referral services
Beneficiaries Identified based on Aadhaar

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥FREE for 24 Hours Prelims Notes
This is default text for notification bar