West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday decided to withdraw from the Centre’s flagship ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme. Launched on September 23 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, PMJAY is a tertiary care programme under which an annual health cover of Rs 5 lakh is being given to 10.74 crore families across the country.
“My state will not contribute 40 per cent of the funds for the Ayushman scheme. Centre has to pay the full amount if Centre wants to run the scheme,” ANI quoted Banerjee as saying.
Interestingly, West Bengal, along with Bihar and Chhattisgarh had emerged as the largest beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat last year. Out of the total government spend of Rs 798.34 crore on the scheme till November-end, West Bengal was allotted a total of Rs 193.34 crore, including Rs 16.78 crore administrative expenses, Union Minister Anupriya Patel had said earlier.
It may be recalled that the TMC government had made the most noise about opting out when the scheme was announced but eventually signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Centre.
The Ayushman Bharat scheme in West Bengal is merged with the TMC government’s Swasthya Sathi scheme, where the state provides 40 per cent of the total cost and under which 40 lakh families are provided with an annual health cover of Rs 5 lakh.
Moreover, the state, under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, also gives a cover of Rs 30,000 to about 63 lakh people.
The decision comes weeks after Banerjee accused the Centre of making false claims of providing crop insurance to farmers in West Bengal and said that the state government bore 80 per cent of the insurance payout.
The TMC chief said from now on the state government would pay the entire amount and won’t allow the Centre to take credit for the state’s crop insurance scheme by just bearing a minuscule 20 per cent of the cost.