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Anil Vij fumes over naming of central scheme as ABHAY

Vij is livid at the renaming of the scheme as ABHAY, the name reminding one of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader, Abhay Singh Chautala.

india Updated: May 17, 2018 13:43 IST
Hitender Rao
Hitender Rao
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Anil Vij,central scheme,ABHAY
Vij’s other point of objection is regarding the bidding process for the selection of an insurance company which will implement the scheme.(HT File )

The rechristening of the ambitious national health protection scheme, Ayushman Bharat, as Ayushman Bharat Haryana Arogya Yojana (ABHAY) and the bidding process adopted for the scheme by the Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana has stoked a controversy.

The move has not gone down well with state health minister Anil Vij, who is livid at the renaming of the scheme as ABHAY, the name reminding one of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader, Abhay Singh Chautala, a vociferous critic of the BJP government and the leader of opposition in Haryana assembly.

Vij’s other point of objection is regarding the bidding process for the selection of an insurance company which will implement the scheme. As per the request for qualification (RFQ) document for ABHAY prepared by the health department, the two-stage bidding process entailed shortlisting of up to seven suitable pre-qualified applicants, who will be eligible for participation in the second stage of the bidding process comprising the request for proposal (RFP).

Must read | Controversy’s favourite child: Haryana health minister Anil Vij

“Limiting the number of shortlisted bidders was a point of contention. It smacks of nepotism and will give ammunition to the opposition,” said an health official, who did not want to be named.

The RFQ document also stated that health department reserved the right to increase the number of shortlisted applicants by adding an additional applicant.

“I have objected to the naming of the national scheme as ABHAY. I have also written on the file that state government should follow the Centre’s guidelines for selecting the bidder and executing the scheme,” Vij said. The file will be put up to chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar for approval.

Additional chief secretary, health, RR Jowel, when asked, said the RFQ was only to discover the eligible bidders. “It is the RFP that will finally decide the bidder. The matter is under deliberation of the state government. We will follow the Centre’s guidelines,” he added.

It has been learnt that additional secretary, union health and family welfare ministry, Manoj Jhalani has also written to the state government to follow the RFP document of the Central government.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Haryana government and the Centre for the Ayushman Bharat scheme on Monday in Shimla.

Sources in the government said two top officials handling the preparation of RFQ for the scheme were transferred out after they objected to the bidding process. The RFQ was designed by the health department after consulting former Rajasthan cadre IAS officer Gajendra Haldea. Haldea had tendered his advice on the basis of the model RFQ formulated by the department of expenditure in the Union finance ministry. The former officer, however, refused to comment on the matter.

What is Ayushman Bharat scheme

It is a national health protection scheme of Union ministry of health and family welfare. Bids will be invited to select insurance companies for implementing the scheme.

In Haryana, the scheme is estimated to cover 40 to 45 lakh families. Treatment under the scheme will be provided by empanelled hospitals, including the government ones.

First Published: May 17, 2018 13:43 IST