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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

Congress minister ducked a question at interaction. Rahul Gandhi steps in

Congress president Rahul Gandhi was interacting with health professionals in Chhattisgarh.

india Updated: Mar 15, 2019 16:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Raipur
Congress president Rahul Gandhi during an interaction with health professionals
Congress president Rahul Gandhi during an interaction with health professionals (ANI)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi was in Chhattisgarh on Friday interacting with health professional in Raipur, where he indicated that his party a promise for universal healthcare law could be part of the manifesto for the Lok Sabha election.

At one point of time during his interaction, Gandhi took a dig at his own party’s minister TS Singh Deo, who responded to a query by a non-permanent health worker. “We will keep it in mind,” said Deo to the health worker, who wanted relugarisation of the contract with the Chhattisgarh health department and fair compensation for the service.

“This is a political answer that he has given,” said Gandhi on Deo’s reply. Deo is the health minister in the Chhattisgarh government. The Congress president’s response drew laughter and cheers from the audience with the health worker seconding him saying, “This is what we get whenever we ask for a clear answer.”

 Watch: Rahul Gandhi charms Chhattisgarh health workers with dig at Cong minister

This forced the minister to offer a detailed answer stating that the Congress government will implement its manifesto that talks about the issues related to health workers.

But this did not satisfy Gandhi, who asked the minister to give a clear answer to the “simple question” put by the health worker. The conversation ended with the minister promising that “compensation” will be given to such health workers.

At the event, Gandhi asserted that if the Congress is voted to power in the Lok Sabha election, the government will increase its expenditure in the health sector to three per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). India’s health spending has been under 1.5 per cent of the GDP.

The Congress president dismissed the Ayushman Bharat scheme, the flagship health insurance programme of the Narendra Modi government saying, “It is handout to the 15 to 20 richest businessmen in India.

“That is not the type of scheme we are going to run. You need public expenditure in healthcare and education,” he said adding, “Healthcare is, in a sense, a foundation. So, we have to ensure that foundation is built firmly. The Congress government in 2019 is dramatically going to increase amount of money we put into healthcare and education.”

The Congress returned to power in Chhattisgarh last year after 15 years on the promise of sweeping reforms in the state in the sectors of health, agriculture and education. The BJP formed three successive governments in the state before losing the assembly election in November last year.

First Published: Mar 15, 2019 14:34 IST

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