The Odisha government’s mega plan to provide smart health cards to all beneficiaries of Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) has raised many uneasy questions with the Opposition terming the move a smart politics envisaged with an eye on the panchayat elections.
It is learnt that the government has decided to distribute smart cards among 92.50 lakh households in the State. A private firm, UTI Infrastructure Technology and Services Limited (UTIITSL) reportedly floated tender for making and distribution of the smart health cards following the approval of the State government.
The tender bid floated by UTIITSL on July 22 stated that Scosta 64KB Smart Card will be distributed to every household. Each household will be given two cards. Therefore, 1.85 crore cards will be prepared to be distributed among 92.50 lakh households.
The smart card will have the name of the beneficiary and 12-digit unique registration number. The kit to be given along with the smart card will bear the list of all the empanelled hospitals.
As per the condition of the tender, the selected vendor will deliver the cards to all panchayats in the State by October 2.
However, the Opposition BJP and Congress questioned the timing of the distribution of the smart cards and asked why the State government thought about implementing the initiative about three years after formally launching the health scheme.
Terming it ‘petty political card’, the Opposition alleged that government’s move intended to address the growing disappointment among people over Covid mismanagement.
“The Odisha government is implementing the smart card to play political card. It has no value. No one will benefit from it,” alleged BJP State general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan.
Debasish Patnaik, Congress leader, said, “Though the State government is widely publicizing the scheme during its party programmes, actual beneficiaries are unable to reap the benefit of the health scheme.”
Reacting to the allegations, BJD leader Raseswari Panigrahi said, “People will avail the benefits of the health scheme through the smart card. The card holder will get health benefit upto Rs 5 lakh in empanelled hospitals in and outside the State.”
Notably, the State government refused to implement Centre’s Ayushman Bharat Scheme and launched its own health scheme Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana on August 15, 2018. As per the scheme, male beneficiary will get benefit of Rs 5 lakh while it is Rs 10 lakh for female beneficiary.