KOLKATA: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday announced that all families across the state will be brought under the state government’s health insurance policy.
The decision is said to be a move to counter BJP's relentless attack accusing the state government of barring Ayushman Bharat, the central government’s health insurance scheme, before the 2021 Assembly elections.
"All the people living in the state permanently will be given the cashless health insurance facilities under the scheme 'Swastha Sathi'. People from all segments -- right from hawkers and daily wage earners to teachers and doctors -- will be able to avail the facility. The process of including rest of the people will begin from December 1," said Mamata.
However, those who are covered by personal health insurance scheme and corporate health insurance scheme will not be entitled to apply for 'Swastha Sathi' scheme. Presently more than 7.5 crore people are under the insurance cover and the CM’s announcement will include additional 2.5 crore people. For this, the state government will have to bear additional expenditure of Rs 2,000 crore.
The BJP and its leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home minister Amit Shah, have unlashed attacks on the state government for depriving the people of the state of the Centre’s health insurance schemes. On several occasions, Modi labelled Mamata as "speed-breaker Didi" for not allowing central schemes in Bengal.
The Bengal CM said her government will organise camps across the state from December 1 to ensure not a single resident of Bengal is deprived of the state government’s welfare schemes ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections. The initiative has been taken under a new venture titled 'Ghore Ghore Sarkar' (The government is at your doorstep).
"People will have to go to the camps and enlist their names. They will be provided smart cards with details of the beneficiaries. Cashless facilities will be available in private healthcare units across the state and also in Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, and AIMS in Delhi," she announced.