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Bengal govt releases list comparing Ayushman Bharat with own health scheme

twitter-logoPTI | November 9, 2019 | Updated 01:02 IST

Kolkata, Nov 8 (PTI) A day after Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said that the people of West Bengal were deprived of the benefits of the Centre's flagship health scheme Ayushman Bharat, the state government on Friday came out with a list drawing comparison between the said scheme and the one it had floated in 2016. “Swasthya Sathi (SS) is a comprehensive health protection scheme entirely funded by the state government whereas in Ayushman Bharat (AB) Yojana, the centre provides 60 per cent of the fund only," said a statement issued by Bengal Minister of State for Health Chandrima Bhattacharya. “The AB our state had a target of 1.12 crore families while the SS has covered over 1.5 crore families. And all the 1.12 crore families, who are eligible for AB, are covered in the SS. “The basic health coverage of Rs five lakh per family per annum is same in both the schemes. Thus, none of the families of the state are deprived in any way due to West Bengal not joining AB,” the release stated, rubbishing the allegations of the governor. It also highlighted that the benefits of the health scheme, which was floated by chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in December 2016, was much better compare to the central scheme. “The benefits of SS in much better than the AB and cards issued in the name of female head of the family as gender empowerment. The schemes also covers the parents of both husband and wife. This has empowered the women,” the statement stated. There is no smart card provided in AB and it is rather a print out which may be collected from Common service centre (CSC) for which the beneficiary has to pay Rs 30 per beneficiary whereas the SS is smart card-based and is provided free of cost to the beneficiary family, it said. The SS scheme was launched much earlier than the AB, it said. “Since the state already has a scheme provididng better facilites and being implemented efficiently, there is no loss to the citizen on account of the state not joining the AB expect that the state has to bear the full expenses of the SS,” the health department notice said. And because of the sound IT platform, there were very little chances of any fraudulent activity for the SS scheme of the West Bengal government, it claimed. “We regularly interact with all the stake holders to continuously incorporate their feedback in package, software module, payment and grievance redressal. We have a robust IT platform that covers complete transactions and continuously monitors the outcome. Thus, there has been hardly any complaints of fraud which some other states had to grapple with,” the statement read. Dhankhar on Thursday claimed that he had received around 3000 applications from all over the state, seeking immediate medical assistance. The Ayushman Bharat Yojana, launched in 2018, provides an annual health cover of Rs 5 lakh for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation through a network of Empanelled Health Care Providers. There is no cap on family size and age. The state government pulled out of the scheme in January this year, accusing the Narendra Modi-led NDA government of making "tall claims" under the programme. The governor, who has been at loggerheads with the Mamata Banerjee government over several issues, said not everything should be politicized. PTI SCH AQS ABH ABH

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