New Delhi: The Arvind Kejriwal government cut a sorry figure on Friday when a Washington Post journalist accused Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain of conning him and shared a reported story about the corruption behind Delhi’s Mohalla clinics.
Vivek Wadhwa, a columnist with the Post, in 2016, had written a piece praising AAP’s Mohalla clinics, essentially suggesting that America should learn from this model to “fix its broken health care system.” The column had credited Jain with the idea of reducing “suffering” and “over-all costs” of healthcare, and encouraged America to build these clinics in its cities.
However, four years later, when the AAP referred to Wadhwa’s column in an election campaign video ahead of the Delhi Assembly election, the journalist took to Twitter to call out AAP.
He shared a 2017 article by news publication DNA which had reportedly uncovered how a vigilance probe found doctors in these clinics inflating in-patients counts. “I was clearly lied to by his health minister,” said Wadhwa.
It is rare that I comment on politics, especially Indian. But this was so much over the top that it made me sick. https://t.co/dzvlVgXI9E— Vivek Wadhwa (@wadhwa) February 7, 2020
At that time, Delhi had 110 Mohalla Clinics operating in various parts of the city. Operational from 9 am to 1 pm, the 106 doctors working across them got paid Rs 30 per patient per day in these clinics.
Miffed with the fact that the AAP used his column to boast about their schemes and initiatives, the columnist said he was “disgusted with dishonesty of the ads.”
The DNA report had claimed that doctors in Mohalla Clinics “treated” close to 533 patients in four hours per day. The report also alleged that the doctors had a high income of Rs 4 lakh a month by making false entries of patients. The Washington Post columnist said the ad was “so over the top” that it made him “sick.”