NEW DELHI: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday urged the Centre to use the Delhi government's expertise for improving school education and healthcare facilities across India to make it the number one country in the world.
He also appealed to the BJP-led Union government to not term free education and healthcare facilities "freebies".
There has been political acrimony over the issue of freebies with the BJP accusing Kejriwal of using them as "bait" to lure voters.
After inaugurating the Bundelkhand Expressway in Uttar Pradesh last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi cautioned people against what he called the "revdi culture" of offering freebies for garnering votes and said it is "very dangerous" for the development of the country.
Modi used 'revdi' as a metaphor for freebies being promised by some parties to woo voters and said the people, especially the youth, should guard against it.
"We are ready to work with the Centre to improve health services and education. I also request the Centre to stop calling them freebies," Kejriwal said during an online press conference.
There is a need to open government schools on a large scale, improve them, regularise guest teachers and train teachers for children's future.
Then India can become a "rich country", the AAP national convener said.
"All this can be done in five years. We have done this. I urge the Centre to use our expertise to improve government schools and healthcare facilities. All state governments can work together," Kejriwal said.
He said the poor can only afford to send their children to government schools and it is important that their condition is improved.
"If a child from a humble background gets good education in a government school, he will become a doctor, engineer, or businessman and improve his family's financial condition.
This will help his family come out of poverty and will also make the nation richer," he said.
Kejriwal said 17 crore children study in government schools.
Reiterating the need to improve the health and education infrastructure, he said that rich nations have done it for their citizens.
"We have done it in Delhi. We have improved government hospitals in Delhi. On average, we are spending Rs 2,000 on every Delhiite's health and to scale it up for 130 crore Indians we need barely 2.5 lakh crores," the chief minister said.
Without naming, Kejriwal also hit out at the Centre's Ayushman Bharat scheme of providing Rs 5 lakh health insurance.
"They think that a Rs 5 lakh insurance cover is good healthcare, what is the point of such a scheme when someone's sick but not hospitalised. The scheme won't pay for the medication. What will someone do with a Rs 5 lakh insurance when there's no hospital in their town? This country needs hospitals not insurance cards," Kejriwal said.
He said healthcare is offered free of cost in many countries and it must be offered free in India too.
To make India the number one nation of the world, there is a need to start working on a war footing to provide excellent and free education and health care to all, he said.
"India is a family of 130 crore people and if someone falls sick in the family, it is our responsibility to ensure that they get treated. We cannot leave them on their own. We cannot say that you will only get treatment if you have money," Kejriwal said.