BJP Slams Odisha Govt’s ‘Double Standards’ On Ayushman Bharat Yojana

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government never seemed in favour of implementing Centre’s Ayushman Bharat Yojana claiming that its own healthcare coverage scheme Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) is better; but BJP claimed that that the State government has adopted double standards by receiving assistance under the central scheme.

Union Health Minister Harshvardhan today informed Lok Sabha that the Ayushman Bharat Yojana comprises two components – (I) Provision of Comprehensive Primary Healthcare through Ayushman Bharat- Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWC) and (II) Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY).

Odisha has received Rs 48.34 crore in 2018-19 and Rs 65.22 crore in 2019-20 under AB-HWC. And the funds have been released based on the proposals received from the State, he said.

Besides, while replying to a questioned raised by Nuapada MP Basant Panda, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Ashwini Kumar Choubey said that Odisha government has not signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of AB-PMJAY.

Meanwhile, BJP today targeted the Odisha government for accepting one component of the Central scheme while shunning the other. “The reply of the Union Health Minister has exposed the real face of the State government,” said Odisha BJP vice-president, Samir Mohanty.

However, Odisha Health Minister Naba Das said that the State received the funds for a training programme, the expenses of which are shared by the state and the Centre. “The money has not been taken under Ayushman Bharat Yojana. The State is providing infra and people, and the Central funds are only meant for the training programme,” said Das.

In a federal structure, states and Centre take up several programmes jointly and this is one of such programmes. It shouldn’t be linked to Ayushman Bharat, he added.

On the other hand, the Odisha government is yet to release the pending funds under the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana to privately-owned medical establishments in the State. Following a warning from the All Odisha Private Medical Establishment Forum, the government has reportedly assured to release funds as early as possible. “We hope that the funds will be released soon as the Health Minister himself has given assurance,” said Indramani Jena, secretary of the forum.

“We are looking into it. They will definitely get the money. I have also instructed the department to look into other aspects as to how the money can be released early and people can get uninterrupted coverage,” said Minister Das.