Local bodies in the state are now having a tough time implementing the state government’s acclaimed Ashraya destitute eradication programme.
According to the officials in the LSG Department, the health component of the programme is facing hurdles owing to the delay in the issuance of a directive from the Health Department without which Health personnel cannot be roped in to cooperate with the scheme.
“Since the Ashraya programme specifically targets vulnerable sections like the disabled, the mentally-challenged and bedridden persons, a large component of the programme needs the cooperation of the personnel from the Health Department. But since there has been no official communication from the Health Department on this, many of the community-level health workers are reluctant to cooperate with it. We have raised the issue with the Health Department,” said a senior officer of the Department of Local Self-government.
According to a Government order dated June 6, 2012, released by the Department of Local Self-government, medicines and related machinery for the beneficiaries of the Ashraya scheme must be directed through an implementing health officer from the local body where the beneficiary resides.
This is true for ayurvedic, allopathic and homoeopathic treatments. As of now, the absence of a directive from the Health Department implies that some of the doctors thus involved refuse to cooperate.
This makes the provision for the medicines unavailable for the beneficiaries.
Similarly, under the provisions of the scheme, for beneficiaries unable to procure the medicines owing to health reasons or disability, the medicines can be taken to the patients through the field-level health personnel of the Health Centre of the local body concerned.
Even the committee which identifies the beneficiaries, for whom the benefits of the scheme are to be continued in the second phase, should have the Medical Officer of the areas as the presiding officer.
The Health Minister said that the issue will be looked into, and that a solution will be formulated.
“The Health Department is presently not involved in the programme. But if there is an issue, we will definitely consider it,” said Health Minister V S Sivakumar.