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West Bengal Becomes First State to Opt Out of ‘Modicare’

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) on February 1, making it the biggest global plan to provide quality health cover.

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Updated:February 14, 2018, 12:11 PM IST
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West Bengal Becomes First State to Opt Out of ‘Modicare’
File Photo of Mamata Banerjee and PM Modi.
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Kolkata: Claiming that the Bengal government had already enrolled 50 lakh people under its own Swasthya Sathi programme, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced the decision to opt out of Centre’s ‘Modicare’ scheme.

This makes West Bengal the first state to withdraw from the ambitious programme.

“The Centre has drawn up a health plan in which 40% of the fund has to come from states. But why should the state spend on another programme when it already has its own? A state will have its own scheme if it has the resources,” the Times of India reported the CM as saying during a public meeting in Krishnanagar on Tuesday.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) on February 1, making it the biggest global plan to provide quality health cover to a population larger than the combined citizenry of the US, UK, Germany and France.

“We have done it even after the Centre takes away Rs 48,000 crore a year for debt-servicing the loan liability left behind by the preceding CPM government,” the chief minister was quoted as saying.

Mamata Banerjee had earlier also expressed her discontent over the scheme.

A day after the Budget was announced, Banerjee had said that the health scheme Centre talked about (Rs 5-lakh health cover for 10 crore poor) was also only on paper.

Other leaders have also been skeptical about the scheme.

Derek O'Brien, leader of Trinamool Congress in the Rajya Sabha, criticised the budget as “super flop show, big bluff show” and pointed out that the Mamata Banerjee-led government in West Bengal already follows what Jaitley proposed to do in 2018-19.

The CPM central committee member, Prakash Karat, had questioned the fund allocated for the national health scheme.

“How the Centre could implement its new public health policy – National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) - for the poor across the country with a meager amount of Rs 2,000 crores against the experts’ estimation cost of Rs 1 lakh crores,” he asked.
| Edited by: Sumedha Kirti
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