Bengal CM Mamata won't 'waste' funds on 'Modicare'; first state to opt out

Pointing out that West Bengal had already enrolled 5 million people under its own healthcare programme, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that the state will not waste its resources on National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), which was unveiled in the Union Budget this year.

This way, Bengal became the first state to opt out of the scheme, also known as Modicare, which Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced as world’s largest health insurance scheme covering 500 million people in the country.

Replacing the existing Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, the government targets an annual premium of Rs 1,200 to cover a single family. The states have to choose between a trust-based scheme or an insurance-based scheme and will have to scrap similar existing programme.

Speaking at a public meeting in Krishnanagar, the CM said, “The Centre has drawn up a health plan in which 40 per cent of the fund has to come from states. But why should the state spend on another programme when it already has its own (Swasthya Sathi programme)? A state will have its own scheme if it has the resources,”, the Times of India quoted her as saying.

According to Niti Aayog and the Union Health Ministry, the NHPS will likely cost the exchequer between Rs 100 billion and Rs 120 billion.

The Union government said it would provide 60 per cent funds while the states were expected to pool in the remaining 40 per cent.

Mamata also  critised the Union government on Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill (FRDI) for allowing banks take away portion of fixed deposits.

"We have asked them to withdraw this bill as this will lead people away from banks during a time when we are asking depositors not to park their hard-earned money in chit funds,” she said.

The CM also slammed Centre for demonetisation and imposing GST as it "dealt a blow to small traders and businesses".


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