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Ayushman Bharat

Blow to Ayushman Bharat yojana – Mamta Banerjee says NO to ModiCare

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s most ambitious healthcare scheme for poor Ayushman Bharat Yojana or National Health Protection Scheme has received the first blow today when Chief Minister of Bengal Mamta Banerjee blasted the central government on declaring the policy without consulting the state governments and then stating that she will not contribute its part of the share to the scheme in the state as it’s a waste of hard earned state resources. With this declaration, Bengal becomes the first state to opt out of the National Health Protection Scheme(NHPS) or commonly known as ModiCare as well.

Opposition to Ayushman Bharat Yojana

There are many challenges facing the government to implement Ayushman Bharat Yojana. Opposition by non-BJP led governments to come foremost in this. Karnataka government has also voiced the similar concerns as Ms. Banerjee, and CM from Delhi, Punjab are also expected to oppose the scheme in a similar fashion. Main concerns raised by Ms. Banerjee are as below :

States not consulted before

While addressing a public rally in Krishnanagar, she declared “The Centre has drawn up a health plan in which 40% of the fund has to come from states. But why should the state spend on another programme when it already has its own? A state will have its own scheme if it has the resources”. She also claimed that hospitalization and treatment have already been made free in the state by her government. Swasthya Sathi programme scheme developed by her government is claimed to have 50 Lac people already registered with it. “There is nothing new in this (ModiCare). We cannot accept the Modi government’s diktat,” she added.

Heavy cost on loan ridden state

As per the Neeti Ayog, Ayushman Bharat yojana proposed by the Modi government is expected to cost 5500-6000Cr a year. While the Central government is going to provide 2000 Cr, the center wants the state governments to provide for the remaining cost. The Bengal CM also claimed that Bengal has been under heavy debt due to successive CPM governments in the past, and center takes away a large part of the state’s revenue for debt-servicing the loan liability.

Lessons learned from previous schemes

Ms. Banerjee also criticised meager fund allocated to the flagship social welfare schemes like ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana’. “Look at the financial allocations in the project. Rs 100 crore for all over India. Which means Rs 3 crore for my state which has a population of 10 crores. So per person allocation would be Rs 0.30.” She added that she has already spent Rs 1,200 crore for providing education to girls in the state.

Opposing other policies also

The chief minister also threatened to launch an agitation if the Central government decides to go ahead with the FRDI Bill. “Through this bill, they would take away your fixed deposits. They have also said that bank would not accept cash. If people would not deposit cash then they would park their money with chit funds. Will that be good?” she asked.

Summary

As per Bengal CM, the government is only interested in announcing the new schemes and not interested in the implementation – “They start the project in any name. Give small allocations. Then they take it back suddenly. We are not like this. We always keep our promise,” she said. This is just a start, there are many states where BJP is not in the government and gradually they will also start raising their voice against NHPS or ModiCare. Will Ayushman Bharat Yojana really be successful and its benefit will ever reach to the farthest corner of the country or not, only time will tell.

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