Congress cries ‘political vendetta’ as brakes put on health scheme in Uttarakhand

The Uttarakhand unit of Congress on Friday alleged that the BJP government was working with a “political vendetta on mind”, a day after brakes were put on a health insurance scheme launched by the erstwhile Harish Rawat government

dehradun Updated: Nov 10, 2017 17:56 IST
Neha Pant
Neha Pant
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand News,health insurance,MSBY
Patients at Govt Doon Medical College Hospital in Dehradun on Friday. (Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)

The Uttarakhand unit of Congress on Friday alleged that the BJP government was working with a “political vendetta on mind”, a day after brakes were put on a health insurance scheme launched by the erstwhile Harish Rawat government.

The Mukhyamantri Swasthya Beema Yojana (MSBY) -- the Chief Minister’s Health Insurance Scheme – offers cashless health cover of up to ₹1.75 lakh to families of non-government employees not falling under tax-paying brackets.

On Thursday, the state government stalled the MSBY citing non-extension of services of a private insurance company working for the scheme. Instructions were issued to all hospitals to stop providing services through the MSBY cards.

The opposition party alleged that the scheme was on the BJP government’s radar as it had been launched during the tenure of its government.

Notably, more than 12 lakh families across the state are enrolled in the scheme.

The first phase of the MSBY was launched by former chief minister Rawat in April 2015, which provided base cover of ₹50,000 for general medical treatment to families at all government hospitals and some empanelled private hospitals.

The Congress government launched its second phase in August last year, extending the scheme’s cover from ₹50,000 to ₹1.75 lakh by adding tertiary care cover amounting to ₹1.25 lakh per family per year for treatment of critical ailments like heart and kidney diseases.

A total of 12,06 general ailments and 459 critical ailments were covered in the scheme.

Alleging that the BJP government was playing “vendetta politics” on a scheme that was launched by the Congress government, the former chief minister said he was “shocked” to learn that patients were no longer receiving benefits of the MSBY.

“If we had introduced a cover of ₹1.75 lakh, this (BJP) government should have taken it up to ₹2.50 lakh, but instead, it has failed to even keep the scheme going,” Rawat told HT on Friday.

Calling the move “counterproductive”, he said: “If the scheme has been affected due to non-extension of services, it (government) should have done the groundwork in advance so that patients are not forced to suffer.”

Rawat also alleged that the BJP government had “tampered with other schemes (launched by the Congress government) like the food security scheme and kanya dhan yojana” among others.

Darshan Singh Rawat, media coordinator of chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, however, rejected the allegations of the move being politically motivated.

“It (discontinuation of MSBY) has nothing to do with politics… the services of the insurance company have been discontinued and the government is working to bring another (private firm) on board by following the due (tender) process,” he told HT.

Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat holds the health portfolio.

Dr Archana Srivastava, director general (medical health and family welfare), said the scheme had not been “stopped”, but only “temporarily stalled” as the contract with the private company had come to an end.

“We are working on the strategy and are hopeful that we’ll be able to bring this (MSBY) back on track very soon,” she told HT.

First Published: Nov 10, 2017 17:56 IST