Mrunal Manmay Dash

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik targeted the BJP-led central government over Ayushman Bharat Yojana after the Union budget 2023 was introduced in the Parliament on Wednesday by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Drawing comparison between Odisha government’s Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) and Ayushman Bharat, Patnaik said, “The budget provision for Ayushman Bharat ‘PMJAY’ is Rs 7. 2 thousand crores for the entire country and Odisha spends almost about Rs 2.4 thousand crores on BSKY in private facilities alone. If we include Government facilities it would be around Rs 6 thousand crores annually.”

“I hope the Odisha BJP leaders will stop misleading people on Ayushman Bharat,” he added.

Citing provisions in the budget, Patnaik said, “I have concerns regarding the drastic reduction of funds for MGNREGS. This will hit the poor people. The reduction in food security budget along with reduction in procurement will hit the poor people as well as farmers.”

“While in 2021-22, Rs 2 lakh crores was spent under the National Food Security, in this budget only Rs 1.37 lakh crore has been kept for this purpose,” he said.

On the other hand, Patnaik lauded some provisions in the budget and welcomed increased capital investments, support to drinking water initiatives and increase in rural housing.

“These will accelerate growth as well as have social impact in rural areas,” he said.

Patnaik welcomed PM Modi’s thrust on millets. “Odisha Millet Mission is a pioneering initiative in the country and I am happy that millets have been given importance in the Budget. The focus on new world technologies like artificial intelligence, Internet of Things etc. is appreciable.”