August 21, 2021 9:49:10 am
Days after the state government announced the launch of smart health cards under the ‘Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana’ (BSKY) and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik distributed the cards to beneficiaries in Malkangiri on Friday, the ruling BJD and opposition BJP exchanged barbs over the implementation of health schemes. During the launch of the smart cards on Independence Day, CM Patnaik had called it a “one of its kind initiative” to benefit the rural population of the state.
During his visit to Odisha for BJP’s Jan Ashriwad Yatra, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan reiterated the party’s demand to implement Ayushman Bharat Scheme. In a series of tweets, Pradhan wrote that a major population of the state, especially those who migrate out of the state for work, face a lot of problems in the absence of the health scheme.
“If the AYUSHMAN scheme is implemented in Odisha, people working in the states like Gujarat, West Bengal, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, including people from economically poor backgrounds can benefit from the scheme. Therefore, I urge the Chief Minister to provide this health facility to the people of Odisha, immediately.”
A week ago, a delegation of MPs from Odisha, led by Pradhan, had also met Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya seeking his intervention to implement the health scheme. “Even after 3 years since the launch of the AB-PMJAY scheme, Odisha remains one of the few states where the government has not implemented Ayushman Bharat thereby depriving almost 60 lakh needy beneficiaries from availing this pro-poor healthcare services,” Pradhan said.
The BJD however has strongly reacted calling the central health scheme as an “insurance scheme” while hailing the state health scheme as an “assurance scheme”.
Senior BJD leader, Pranab Prakash Das said, “Ayushman Bharat’s beneficiaries are limited to 40 lakh, but BSKY will reach out to 96 lakh families, which is more than double. Ayushman Bharat has zero facilities for mothers. But BSKY has special arrangements for mothers up to Rs 10 lakh. Ayushman does not include hospitals like Apollo, Forties, but BSKY includes almost all major hospitals, including Apollo, Fortis.”
BJD MP in Rajya Sabha, Amar Patnaik also tweeted and said, “I have a very different take on the Ayushman Bharat scheme. My advice, for free, to all my friends in BJP would be to refashion it like our BSKY as it is more advanced with better facilities. Not just insurance (AB) & assurance (BSKY) issue!!”
BJP has time and again accused the BJD of hijacking Central schemes and implementing them as its own while central schemes remain to be implemented. In 2018, the BJD had rejected the Central health scheme as it considered BSKY a much better facilitated scheme than Ayushman Bharat. The scrimmage also comes months ahead of the panchayat polls, scheduled next year, which are being considered crucial for the BJP and the BJD.
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