Lashing out at those who cast doubts over the efficacies of the two Covid-19 vaccines that have been granted emergency use authorisation in India, Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday said issues relating to public health should not be politicised.
Shah made the comments while launching a scheme to extend the benefit of the government's Ayushman healthcare programme to the central armed police forces. As part of the 'Ayushman CAPF' scheme, all armed forces personnel in the country will henceforth be able to avail health insurance.
Launching a thinly-veiled attack at those who criticised the Centre for granting authorisation for Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine despite Phase 3 trial data not being available, Shah said people should stop spreading misinformation.
"There are some people who are spreading misinformation on the vaccines. Come to another platform and lets’ have a duel. But why are you creating doubt over people's health and doing politics?" he asked. "I appeal to all of you to take the vaccine when your turn comes. Do not have any doubt over its efficacy. We've already launched the world's biggest vaccination drive," he added.
Shah also ceremoniously distributed the 'Ayushman CAPF' health cards among some personnel from the seven Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in Guwahati.
He said the CAPFs had three prime concerns – the comprehensiveness of the existing health coverage, the lack of satisfaction regarding housing and long duty hours without leaves due to non-timely recruitment. "Our government is addressing all the three concerns. For the health issue, we've launched the 'Ayushman CAPF' today. This will give health insurance benefit to around 50 lakh people," Shah said.
By May 1, the 'Ayushman CAPF' process will be completed and health cards will be provided to all the personnel of the seven central police forces, he added.
The home minister said the government and the forces are trying to increase the satisfaction ratio to 55 per cent by 2022 from 36 per cent two years ago, and further take it to 65 per cent by 2025.
"We've completed the examination process for 50,000 recruitments. Now, we'll start the process again to hire another 50,000 persons in the CAPFs. Our target is one hiring against one departure in five years. With this, everyone will be able to stay home for 100 days in a year," he added.
An MoU was signed between the National Health Authority (NHA) and Union Home Ministry in presence of Shah, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai and state Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at the CRPF Group Centre in Guwahati.
Under the initiative 'Ayushman CAPF', around 28 lakh personnel from Central Armed Police Force (CAPF), Assam Rifles and NSG and their families will be covered by the 'Ayushman Bharat: Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana'.
CRPF Director-General AP Maheshwari expressed his gratitude for bringing the CAPFs under the scheme.
The home minister also virtually inaugurated Sashastra Seema Bal's (SSB) 168 quarters, a 10-bed hospital and an administrative building located at different places of Assam.
(With PTI inputs)
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