Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced the decision to opt out of Centre’s ‘Modicare’ scheme, saying the Bengal government had already enrolled 50 lakh people under its own Swasthya Sathi programme.
"The state will not 'waste' its hard-earned resources to contribute its share to the programme," The Times Of India quoted Mamata Banerjee.
“The Centre has drawn up a health plan in which 40% of the fund has to come from states. But why should the state spend on another programme when it already has its own? A state will have its own scheme if it has the resources,” the CM added.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) on February 1, making it the biggest global plan to provide quality health cover to a population larger than the combined citizenry of the US, UK, Germany and France.
“We have done it even after the Centre takes away Rs 48,000 crore a year for debt-servicing the loan liability left behind by the preceding CPM government,” the chief minister was quoted as saying.
Criticising the centre's 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' Andolan, Mamata Banerjee said, "The Centre has floated Beti Bachao with a paltry allocation of Rs 100 crore for the entire country; Bengal has provided for Rs 5,000 crore for its own Kanyashree project."
The CM also ticked off the Centre for touting its pro-farmer policies when “as many as 12,000 farmers committed suicide all over India”.
“The highest death toll comes from BJP-ruled Maharashtra,” she said, announcing her alternative Bengal model. “Our government has waived land rent for farmers. We also gave Rs 1200 crore as relief to about 30 lakh farmers’ families when their crops were damaged by unseasonal rain. We have also hiked the monthly pension for aged farmers by Rs 250 a month,” the CM said, appealing to people to elect TMC candidates in the coming panchayat polls.
West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee had earlier also expressed her discontent over the scheme.
A day after the Budget was announced, Banerjee had said that the health scheme Centre talked about (Rs 5-lakh health cover for 10 crore poor) was also only on paper.
Several other leaders have also been skeptical about the scheme.
Derek O'Brien, leader of Trinamool Congress in the Rajya Sabha, criticised the budget as “super flop show, big bluff show” and pointed out that the Mamata Banerjee-led government in West Bengal already follows what Jaitley proposed to do in 2018-19.
The CPM central committee member, Prakash Karat, had questioned the fund allocated for the national health scheme.
“How the Centre could implement its new public health policy – National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) - for the poor across the country with a meager amount of Rs 2,000 crores against the experts’ estimation cost of Rs 1 lakh crores,” he had asked.
(With Agency Inputs)