West Bengal opts out of 'Modicare'; Mamata says state won't pay for it

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 14, 2018 15:58 hrs
Mamata Banerjee

Kolkata: West Bengal won’t provide financial support to the National Health Protection Scheme or 'Modicare', touted as the world’s biggest government-funded healthcare programme, declared Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday.

Mamata Banerjee said the state will not “waste” its hard-earned resources to contribute its share to the National Health Protection Scheme.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the National Health Protection Scheme, which seeks to provide health cover of Rs 5 lakh to 10 crore households, in the Union Budget 2018.

According to Niti Aayog advisor Alok Kumar, the expenditure for the mega healthcare programme will be borne jointly by the Centre and the states. However, the West Bengal government decided not to contribute.

Addressing a public meeting in Krishnanagar, Mamata Banerjee said, “The Centre has drawn up a health plan in which 40% of the fund has to come from states. But why should the state spend on another programme when it already has its own? A state will have its own scheme if it has the resources.” She said hospitalisation and treatment are already free in West Bengal.

“We have done it even after the Centre takes away Rs 48,000 crore a year for debt-servicing the loan liability left behind by the preceding CPM government,” Mamata Banerjee said, adding that 50 lakh people were enrolled under Swasthya Sathi programme by the West Bengal government.

The Chief Minister also slammed the Modi government for allocating ‘paltry’ fund for Beti Bachao project.

“The Centre has floated Beti Bachao with a paltry allocation of Rs 100 crore for the entire country; Bengal has provided for Rs 5,000 crore for its own Kanyashree project,” she said.

She also criticised the Centre on the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill and said the Modi is eying fixed deposits after snatching away homemakers’ lakshmir bhanr (piggy banks) during demonetisation.

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