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Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: The tug of war between the ruling-BJD in Odisha and BJP-led NDA government at centre over their own universal healthcare coverage programs is intensifying each passing day.

Declining Centre's Ayushman Bharat, Odisha government has already launched its own Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) and Odisha Health Minister Pratap Jena today claimed that the Central scheme is of no use for residents of Odisha.

“Not only in government hospitals but also in private hospitals, BSKY facility will be provided. Ayushman Yojana will not be of any help for Odisha residents,” Jena said.

Earlier Union Health Minister J P Nadda had said, “It is not good that people of Odisha are being deprived of the facilities which are being provided under Ayushman Bharat scheme.”

Under Ayushman Bharat, it is claimed that a total of 61 lakh families in Odisha will be benefitted. While the scheme will provide a maximum cover of Rs 5 lakh, beneficiaries can take advantage of the scheme at all government and private hospitals, even outside the State.

On the other hand, BSKY will cover 70 lakh families. While the maximum cover under the scheme is Rs 5 lakh, for women there is an additional coverage of Rs 2 lakh. However, BSKY benefits cannot be availed outside the state.

Countering the Odisha government, BJP has questioned the claims made under BSKY.

Earlier, the Odisha government had said that only 70 lakh people will be covered but now through advertisements it is claiming that 4.5 crore people will get benefits. Moreover, while the adverts had earlier mentioned about insurance, the new ones only talk about free healthcare.

BJP while criticising the BSKY, said as per 2011 census, the population of Odisha is 4.19 crore and the State government should present data on how the scheme is going to benefit 4.5 crore people.

“They protested against Ayushman Bharat scheme saying there is no insurance but now they don’t have the same. This government is only good at lying,” BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra said.

Responding to Mohapatra, BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb said, “We have been saying about the scheme since 2014 and it is not insurance but an assurance scheme. While number of beneficiaries under Ayushman Bharat will be increased to 61 lakh families from 48 lakh we are directly offering the benefits to 71 lakh families.”

While Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana was rolled out on August 15 in Odisha, Ayushman Bharat scheme will be launched on September 25 across the country.


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