West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday announced that the state has pulled out of the Centre's Ayushman Bharat scheme, accusing the Narendra Modi-led NDA government of making “tall claims” under the health coverage programme.
A top government official said the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government has written to the Centre to convey its decision in this regard.
The Ayushman Bharat, or the National Health Protection Scheme, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August last year, aims to cover over 100 million poor and vulnerable families (approximately 500 million beneficiaries) by providing health cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year.
The expenses incurred is to be shared between the Centre and the state in 60:40 ratio.
The TMC supremo alleged that the prime minister was “politicising” the health scheme by sending letters about its provisions to every household of the state with his picture and a lotus symbol on top.
The Centre is “using” post offices to dispatch these letters, she said.
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“You (Narendra Modi) are sending letters with your photograph on them to every household in the state, making tall claims to take credit for the scheme. Then why should I bear 40 per cent? The NDA government should take the entire responsibility,” Banerjee said at an event.
“I have seen the document with the PM's picture and a logo resembling BJP's party symbol. You (BJP government) have already destroyed the banking system with demonetisation and GST implementation. Now, you are using government money to campaign for the party,” Banerjee said.
According to reports, the Centre is sending out a two-page customised letter, highlighting the importance of the Ayushman scheme, to every beneficiary.
“In West Bengal, people do not need to pay for treatments. At state hospitals, people from Bihar, Jharkhand and even Nepal and Bangladesh receive free medical assistance. Then why is that the prime minister of the country is playing dirty politics?” the CM asked.
She accused the Centre of making “false claims” about crop insurance benefits to the farmers, even as the state government was bearing 80 per cent of the cost. Last year, the state spent Rs 625 crore for the purpose, Banerjee said.
“The Centre is making false claims about bearing crop insurance cost of farmers. In reality, the Union government pays just 20 per cent of the incurred cost,” the chief minister said.
Banerjee said the Modi government was deducting taxes from people’s accounts in the state without doling out adequate benefits to them.
Questioning the role of the central government, she also alleged that the Modi government was trying to “run a parallel government” in all states, including West Bengal.
“We were elected to power by the people, just like them. Do they (Centre) consult me when they set up any deal in the defence sector? Why is that they are interfering in the state matters? They do not enjoy the rights,” she added.