Bhubaneswar: A day after Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan targeted the State government over deteriorating standards of healthcare services in the State, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today took a jibe at the universal healthcare coverage scheme of the Centre. Patnaik stated aliments and accidents never occur only to those who are below poverty line (BPL) and reiterated his earlier claim that the Odisha government's Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) is better than the Centre's Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana.

Terming Odisha government’s BSKY as a ‘historic step,’ Patnaik stated BPL and above poverty line (APL) people will be benefitted by the State’s health coverage scheme.

“The BSKY is better in comparison to the Ayushman Bharat which covers BPL category families only,” said the chief minister at his party's ‘Jan Sampark Padyatra’ rally in Bhubaneswar.

“The state government has launched its healthcare coverage scheme for those who do not have a BPL card and will stand beside all sections of the society. Our scheme will benefit all,” the CM further said.

In response, BJP said when Union Health minister JP Nadda has stated several times that Centre’s scheme will cover all as per the socio-economic caste census (SECC) data which almost covers both the BPL and APL categories, there is no point why the Chief Minister of the State is making such statements.
Besides, in urban areas, everyone apart from the government employees are covered under the Ayushman Bharat, said BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra.

“If the CM had any reservations, he should have presented them during meetings with the Union Health Minister,” Mohapatra added.

Meanwhile, Pradhan said the Odisha CM is trying to mislead people in broad daylight as the guidelines of BSKY has not been finalised yet.

Yesterday, Pradhan had challenged Odisha government’s claim of providing coverage in over one crore cases under BSKY in just 60 days of implementation the scheme.

In a Facebook video, the Union Minister said that Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik feels insecure about Modi’s increasing popularity which is the main reason for not implementing the Ayushman Bharat scheme in the State.

Presenting a few others facts on the healthcare situation in Odisha, Pradhan said that the average number of doctors for every 1 lakh people in the State has reduced to nine from 11. The infant mortality rate is highest in Odisha in comparison to other States, he added.