Mrunal Manmay Dash

Clearing the air over Ayushman Bharat scheme, Odisha Health Secretary, Shalini Pandit on Thursday said that there are some major factors that differentiates the state government's Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY), hinting that the central scheme might never be implemented in the State.

Addressing a press conference, Pandit said, “600 private hospitals in 17 different States have been empanelled under the BSKY scheme under which 3.5 crore people of 96.5 lakh Odia families can avail free healthcare services. Till now, more than 10 lakh families have availed free healthcare worth Rs 2100 crore.”

“We do not maintain a separate BSKY database. The ration card database serves the purpose, because anyone with a ration card is eligible to avail BSKY scheme in empanelled private hospitals. In fact, we all are eligible for free treatment in all the government hospitals. So if the assurance amount of Rs 5 lakh is exhausted at a private hospital, the patient can be shifted to any government hospital for further treatment,” she added.

“Centre’s Ayushman Bharat provides treatment up to a limit of Rs 5 lakh. However, the major drawback in Ayushman Bharat is that the Centre bills the patient even in government hospitals. The first day a patient visits a government hospital under the Central scheme, the billing starts from that day itself, up to Rs 5 lakh, as opposed to the BSKY under which the State government never bills the charges in govt hospitals,” Pandit said.

“Apart from that, Ayushman Bharat has Rs 5 lakh limit for all. However, in BSKY, women enjoy special privileges with up to Rs 10 lakh health cover. That is why we did not choose to implement the Central scheme in Odisha,” Pandit clarified.

It is pertinent to mention here that the recent misuse of the BSKY scheme by a private hospital in Cuttack to shiffon money of the State exchequer fuelled a debate over the efficacy of the scheme.

State BJP Chief, Sameer Mohanty had said that the recent misuse of BSKY cards by a private hospital in Cuttack clearly suggests that the scheme is riddled with corruption.

(Reported By Kapilendra Pradhan, OTV)