BANGALORE: The State government has failed to implement the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi Scheme, which aimed to provide medical care to the poor.
According to the details available, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare disclosed a list of beneficiaries, but the state government had no beneficiary in the last four years.
Under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 1997, the scheme was introduced to provide financial assistance to patients suffering from life threatening diseases and belonging to the Below Poverty Line category.
The scheme was formulated to provide treatment at any of the super speciality families who are suffering from major life threatening diseases, to receive medical treatment at any of the super specialty hospitals/institutes or government hospitals.
The financial assistance was released in the form of “one time grant” to the Medical Superintendent of the hospital in which the treatment was being provided.
However, Health Department Dr E V Ramana Reddy was unaware of any such scheme and said it may fall under the Directorate of Medical Education.
Director of Medical Education (DME) Dr G S Venkatesh claimed that the scheme was not under his department.
Under the scheme, an “Illness Assistance Fund” was to be set up in each state and annually an advance amount between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 40 lakh was to be kept with Medical Superintendents of hospitals like NIMHANS and Kidwai, Bangalore.
Speaking to Express, Director of Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology M Vijay Kumar, said, “We receive around Rs 20 lakh fund every year and utilise the money fully. We send the utilisation report to the government and we don’t know where the state figures came from.”
An official of the Health Department on the condition of anonymity said the state failed to publicise the availability of the fund and its purpose.
“If the government officials themselves do not know that such a scheme exists, it is unfair to expect the people to have information about such schemes,” said the official.
K Chandra Mohan from Chittoor district who sought the information under RTI is fighting for its implementation in southern states. In a reply, the Union Ministry of Health said the scheme was being successfully implemented in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.