Kolkata: West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar on Thursday questioned Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's intention behind not implementing the ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme in the state.
After inaugurating the national conference of Association of Medical Physicists of India (AMPI) in Kolkata, Dhankar said, “Why the central scheme (Ayushman Bharat) that has great facility and is recognised all over the world is not being adopted in West Bengal for the benefit of its people?”
He said, “One should not do politics in the name of schemes meant for the poor. I have received nearly 5,000 applications for help from various people on health issues. This scheme has great facilities. Why is it not being implemented in Bengal?”
On January 10 this year, Banerjee withdrew the ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi was taking all the credit for the health scheme while ignoring the state’s contribution.
Addressing a public meet, Banerjee had said: “Modi is sending letters to people across Bengal through Post Offices, claiming that they are behind this health scheme. They are doing politics and using government offices (Post Offices) for party work. I would like to remind him that under Ayushman Bharat scheme, we are bearing 40 per cent of the total cost while rest (60 per cent) is taken care of by the Centre. Then, why he is sending letters to the people through post offices with his photographs saying that they have done everything? Let them take all the credit. From today, I am withdrawing ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme from Bengal.”
‘Ayushman Bharat’ is National Health Protection Scheme that covers over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families. This health scheme provides coverage up to Rs 5 lakh per family/year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation. The scheme was launched by PM Modi in 2018.
Earlier, Banerjee had issued a circular (dated April 12, 2017) to change the names of all central government schemes, including Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, which is now known as ‘Mission Nirmal Bangla’ in West Bengal.
She also changed schemes nationally known as Aajeevika (National Rural Livelihood Mission) to Anandadhara (State Rural Livelihood Mission), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) to Banglar Gramin Sadak Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Grameen) to Banglar Griha Prakalpa and Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao to Kanyashree.