The Odisha government on Wednesday began posting 70 lakh letters to intended beneficiaries of the state’s health scheme Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY), informing them of the scheme and other efforts undertaken by the government to boost public healthcare.
The letter, from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik states, “In 2014, I promised that no poor family in Odisha will be denied medical treatment because of financial constraints. To them, I dedicate Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana”.
The letter listed other schemes under the state government such as Niramaya — the scheme for free medicines, Nidan — for free diagnostics, and Sahay — which equips all districts to provide dialysis and chemotherapy services.
“Collectors have been asked to set up and chair six-member committees in respective districts to review distribution of these letters”, said an official from the state health department.
Patnaik, in his Independence Day address, formally launched the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana.
BSKY promises insurance of up to Rs 5 lakh per eligible family and Rs 7 lakh for treatment of female members.
The scheme claims to cover 70 lakh families, reportedly nine lakh more than what would be covered by the Centre’s National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS).
BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra slammed the government for rejecting NHPS, set to be implemented from September 15. “Their argument in favour of BSKY (over NHPS) was that it will cover more families. However, they have covered only around 69 lakh families,” he said.
The state’s honorary health advisor, cardiologist Dr K Srinath Reddy, said, “The announcement Wednesday is a political commitment from the highest quarters that will catalyse demand for health services forcing the administration to develop facilities.”