In what yet again exposes how the West Bengal chief minister, Mamata Banerjee is a tyrannical leader who is worried only about earning political brownie points and not the welfare of the citizenry, she has decided to pull out from the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat scheme. Mamata Banerjee alleged that PM Modi is taking all the contribution for the health scheme and ignoring the state’s contribution. It is shocking that in order to ensure that the Centre is not able to take credit for the healthcare scheme, she has dictatorially decided to deprive the people of West Bengal of free healthcare services.
The Ayushman Bharat Scheme in West Bengal was merged with Swasthya Sathi health scheme, where the state government provides for 40 percent of the total cost. While addressing a public meeting, she said, “He is sending letters to people across Bengal through post offices claiming that they are behind this health scheme.” The West Bengal chief minister did not stop here, she went on to accuse the Modi government of using government post offices for party work.
The Ayushman Bharat Scheme is an ambitious National Health Protection Scheme that provides for up to Rs 5 lakh medical coverage to 10 crore poor and vulnerable families. On the other hand, the ‘Swasthya Saathi’ scheme in West Bengal which is operative in the state since 2017, provides basic health cover for secondary and tertiary care up to Rs 1.5 lakh a year through the insurance mode. The Ayushman Bharat Scheme is seen as a game changer as far as healthcare in India is concerned. The scheme launched by the Modi government recently completed 100 days and has been receiving appreciations worldwide. Even Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) applauded PM Modi and Union Health Minister J P Nadda for their visionary and exemplary leadership.
Earlier, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in a Facebook post had termed Ayushman Bharat as a ‘game changer’ in healthcare and stated, “In the first 100 days, 6.85 lakh patients have been provided hospital treatment. 5.1 lakh claims have availed of the scheme, for which payment has been released. This averages 5000 claims per day for the first 100 days. No patient have had to pay a single Rupee. Thus, once awareness of the scheme increases, It is anticipated that in the next few years, almost 1 crore plus families will benefit each year.” Jaitley had also said, “The total number of hospitals covered by this scheme are both Government hospitals and private hospitals presently numbering 16,000 and increasing steadily. More than 50% of the implementing hospitals are in the private sector. Thus, a patient can enroll himself in empanelled hospital and get himself hospitalised upto charges of Rs. 5 lakh in a totally cashless and paperless manner.”
Around seven lakh people have availed benefits of Ayushman Bharat in its initial 100 days of implementation. It is clear that in a brief span of time, the scheme has started benefiting the needy to a large extent. It is going to change the face of medical and healthcare in India. It is, therefore, clear that Mamata Banerjee is depriving people of West Bengal from a world class health care scheme only because of make believe political differences.
Mamata Banerjee has set a very bad precedent with this decision. Political differences are a part of any democratic system but that should never come in the way of public interest. By depriving the people of her state from this scheme, a number of lives have been put in danger and several others who would have been able to get rid of deadly diseases by availing health care services will now be unable to access such services.
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