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Bengal’s health scheme better than Centre’s: TMC

Chandrima Bhattacharya, Minister of State for Health claimed that the Bengal government already introduced ‘Sasthya Sathi Scheme’ for all people of West Bengal which is much better that ‘Ayushman Bharat’.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
December 26, 2020 11:16:53 pm
narendra modi, mamata banerjee, Chandrima Bhattacharya, TMC, PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, Ayushman Bharat scheme, west bengal assembly polls, indian express newsWest Bengal Health Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya. (File)

As West Bengal inches closer to the Assembly elections next year, the political battle between the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the opposition BJP is heating up, with the two parties sparring over “non-implementation” of central schemes.

While the BJP accuses the Mamata Banerjee government of not implementing the flagship central schemes like the PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi and Ayushman Bharat in her state, the Trinamool claimed it has come up with “better schemes” like ‘Krishak Bandhu’ and ‘Swasthya Sathi’, which are similar to the Centre’s schemes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched the Ayushman Bharat scheme via video-conferencing to extend health insurance coverage to all residents of Jammu and Kashmir. The Prime Minister’s Office said the scheme would ensure universal health coverage, and focus on providing financial risk protection and ensuring quality and affordable essential health services to all individuals and communities. After that, State BJP leaders again criticized Mamata Banerjee Government on not implementing the ‘Ayushman Bharat Yojna’ in West Bengal.

However, Chandrima Bhattacharya, Minister of State for Health, said that, BJP leaders are talking on that out of “frustration”. She claimed that the Bengal government already introduced ‘Sasthya Sathi Scheme’ for all people of West Bengal which is much better that ‘Ayushman Bharat’. Talking about the Swastha Sathi scheme, she said, “Our health scheme is better than Modi’s. They should take some ideas from Mamata Banerjee. Our scheme covers the beneficiary and the extended family members. The central scheme does not have that provision. Why do we need to take such schemes for which we have to give a share?”

“Under the new provisions of Swastha Sathi, everybody in Bengal can get the benefits of a Rs 5-lakh insurance cover,” she said.

According to the TMC, the Duare Sarkar outreach programme has reached more than 1 crore people till date. The initiative to bring 12 government projects to the people, now in its second phase, has reached almost 1.42 crore people. As of December 20, there have been 11,056 camps. In Murshidabad, North and South 24 Parganas, the highest number of people visited the camps, which was about 39 lakh. The second phase of this innovative program of the Government of West Bengal started on December 15 and will continue till December 24, 2020. Covid tests are also being conducted in the camps on the initiative of the local administration. The government has released Rs 8,700 crore for this. According to TMC, in Duare Sarkar programme, utmost priority was given to including people in Sasthya Sathi Scheme and it gained immense popularity among the people.

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