The Assembly Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare has recommended the State Government to vest the power of the revenue divisional commissioners (RDCs) for sanctioning financial assistance from Odisha State Treatment Fund (OSTF) to the superintendents of the three of its medical colleges and hospitals.
“Since the RDCs always have a busy schedule, the Committee recommended that this power be vested with a committee headed by the superintendent of each of the medical college with a head of department as member and the administrative officer as convener,” the Committee stated in its report.
Revenue Divisional Commissioners have the power to sanction up to `2 lakh from OSTF for the treatment of poor people suffering from critical and life threatening diseases.
Launching the scheme in 2011, the Government constituted a registered society under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary to manage the fund. The district collectors have the power to sanction between `30,000 and `50,000 and the State-level Committee up to ` 3 lakh.
The Chief Minister can sanction more than ` 3 lakh. The fund is to assist patients under BPL category, economically weaker sections and families with incomes less than `40,000 per annum in rural areas and `90,000 per annum in urban centres. Accident victims, orphans, mentally ill persons and registered destitute homes are covered under the scheme.
The assistance covers diagnostic services, tests and examinations along with treatment for diseases such as cancer, kidney, cardiac ailments, urological diseases and gastroenterological problems.
The State Government has so far sanctioned `30 crore under the scheme, of which over ` 20.86 crore have been utilised towards treatment of the beneficiaries.
A large number of applications are pending for consideration. Reports from several districts reflected that the district administrations are unable to dispose of the application of beneficiaries due to paucity of OSTF fund.
The State Government has also failed to extend the health insurance cover to the all BPL families under the Central Government sponsored Rashtriya Swasthy Bima Yojana (RSBY). Out of over 52.22 lakh BPL families, about 33.83 lakh were covered till January 15 and 1.2 lakh beneficiaries availed the benefit with claims amounting to ` 38.40 crore.
Expressing concern over the large number of vacancies of doctors in government hospitals, the committee recommended the Government to fill up the posts without delay.