Will consider joining NHPS if concerns are addressed: Odisha CM Naveen

Bhubaneswar: A few days after objecting to the Ayushman Bharat under National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), the Odisha government has said that it is still willing to consider joining the Central health scheme if its concerns are addressed.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in connection with the governing council meeting of the NITI Aayog, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote, “We will still be willing to consider joining the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) in due course if the concerns of the State are addressed adequately.”

About 40 lakh people (eight lakh families) who are already covered under the Health Assistance scheme of the State government will be left out if the Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) data is taken as a base, Naveen wrote in his letter adding “We had put forth our concerns regarding genuine beneficiaries being left out.”

“It is my firm belief that we should move towards a system of near-universal coverage. The dependence of the NHPS on SECC data will be a serious handicap in achieving this. As you will agree, the SECC survey done on the criteria fixed by the UPA government has grave lacunae and many genuine poor have been left out,” the letter read.

The CM further stated, “Our state government has a mandate of providing near universal health coverage. In view of the same, our government has announced a health assurance scheme which will cover nearly 70 lakh families of the State.”

Last week, disapproving the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat, Odisha Health Minister Pratap Jena had said that the Central scheme claims to include 61 lakh families in Odisha depriving other 9 lakh. That’s why the state came up with ‘Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana,’ Jena had stated.