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West Bengal to pull out of Ayushman Bharat scheme

PTI
Published : Jan 11, 2019, 6:01 am IST
Updated : Jan 11, 2019, 6:01 am IST

Centre makes ‘tall claims’ while state bears 40 per cent cost, says Mamata.

West Bengal Chief minister Mamata Banerjee (Photo:Asian Age)
 West Bengal Chief minister Mamata Banerjee (Photo:Asian Age)

Krishnanagar: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday announced that the state has decided to pull out of the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat scheme, accusing the NDA government of making “tall claims” under the health coverage programme.

A top government official said that the Trinamul Congress (TMC) government has written to the Centre to notify about its decision to withdraw from the scheme. The ambitious Ayushman Bharat or the national health protection scheme, which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August last year, aims to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) by providing health cover upto Rs 5 lakh per family per year. The expenses incurred is to be shared between the Centre and the state in 60:40 ratio.

The TMC supremo alleged that the Prime Minister was “politicising” the health scheme by sending letters about its provisions to every household of the state with his picture and a lotus symbol on top. The Centre is “using” post offices to dispatch these letters, she said.

“You (Mr Modi) are sending letters with your photograph on them to every household in the state, making tall claims to take credit for the scheme. Then why should I bear 40 per cent? The NDA government should take the entire responsibility,” she observed at a programme here.

“I have seen the document with the PM’s picture and a logo resembling BJP’s party symbol. You (BJP government) have already destroyed the banking system with demonetisation and GST implementation. Now, you are using government money to campaign for the party,” Ms Banerjee said.

According to reports, the Centre is sending out a two-page customised letter, highlighting the importance of the Ayushman scheme, to every beneficiary. “In West Bengal, people do not need to pay for treatments. At state hospitals, people from Bihar, Jharkhand and even Nepal and Bangladesh receive free medical assistance. Then why the Prime Minister of the country is playing dirty politics?” the CM questioned.

She also accused the Union government of making “false claims” about crop insurance benefits to the farmers, even as the state government was bearing 80 per cent of the cost. Last year, the state has spent Rs625 crore for the purpose, Ms Banerjee claimed.

“The Centre is making false claims about bearing crop insurance cost of farmers. In reality, the Union government pays just 20 per cent of the incurred cost,” the chief minister said.

Ms Banerjee claimed that the Modi government was deducting taxes from people’s accounts in the state without doling out adequate benefits to them. “You are deducting money from people’s accounts in West Bengal and other states as income tax and customs and using just a percentage of it for their welfare. That is not a favour. Why is Mr Modi acting as ‘dalaal (agent)? I do not favour the politics of cheating people,” the TMC chief said.

Tags: mamata banerjee, ayushman bharat scheme