West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday announced that her state has pulled out of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) or Ayushman Bharat. With this announcement, Bengal has become the second state to say no to the Centre's ambitious health scheme in the recent past. Earlier, Telangana had refused to join it by saying that it already has Aarogyasri scheme which covers nearly 80 lakh families in the state. "My state will not contribute 40% of the funds for the Ayushman scheme. Centre has to pay the full amount if Centre wants to run the scheme," the West Bengal chief minister said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Ayushman Bharat Yojana: My state will not contribute 40% of the funds for the Ayushman scheme. Centre has to pay the full amount if Centre wants to run the scheme. pic.twitter.com/vCXM2vh25G— ANI (@ANI) January 10, 2019
The Mamata Banerjee-led government decided to pull out of the scheme over alleged lack of transparency in the way Centre has projected the scheme. Earlier, the scheme was merged with the state government's 'Swasthya Sathi' health scheme and Mamata-led West Bengal government was providing 40 per cent of the total cost.
The West Bengal chief minister also took a dig at PM Modi by saying that he can’t speak English. "He (the Prime Minister) gives such speeches. But he can't speak English. He uses a teleprompter. Media knows. We know. You just see the screen, read and speak...That's a teleprompter. We don't use all that," she was quoted as saying by news reports.
Ayushman Bharat, considered close to PM Narendra Modi, was launched in September last year. Touted as the world's largest scheme, it aims to provide coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family to more than 10 crore poor families. However, states like Odisha, Delhi, Kerala, and Punjab refused to opt for it.
All families listed in the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) database as per defined criteria will be covered in the scheme and there will be no cap on family size and age of members. The scheme has defined 1,350 medical packages covering surgery, medical and day care treatments including medicines, diagnostics and transport.