Bengal won’t join Modicare, Mamata says her State will not ‘waste’ its resources

Mamata Banerjee (Arun Sharma/Hindustan Times via GettyImages).

Bengal has become the first state to opt out of the National Health Protection Scheme announced in the Union Budget. Its Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on 13 February (Tuesday) that the state will not “waste” its hard-earned resources to contribute its share to the programme.
“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? A state will have its own scheme if it has the resources,” the CM said while addressing a public meeting in Krishnanagar, according to media reports.

Banerjee said that West Bengal already has implemented a health insurance scheme “Swasthya Sathi programme” for around 50 lakh people, who are government employees and contractual or casual labourers.

"There is nothing new in this (Modicare). We cannot accept the Modi government’s diktat," she said.

Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant has pegged the expenses for the Centre’s health plan at Rs 5,500-6,000 crore a year. The Centre has made a provisional allocation of Rs 2,000 crore and wants States to bear the rest.

The Bengal chief minister also criticised marginal fund allocation to flagship social welfare schemes like “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana”. “Look at the financial allocations in the project. Rs 100 crore for all over India. Which means Rs 3 crore for my State which has a population of 10 crore. So, per person allocation would be Rs 0.30.” Banerjee said that she has already spent Rs 1,200 crore for providing education to girls in the State.

She threatened to launch an agitation if the Central government decides to go ahead with the FRDI Bill. “If they don’t take it (FRDI Bill) back, I have decided to start a massive protest,” the Bengal Chief Minister said.

She also asked people in the state to ensure that the BJP does not win panchayat elections. “The development process would be hampered. In all seats our people should win,” she said.

She claimed that the Union government only talks, but does not do any concrete work. “They start project in any name. Give small allocations. Then they take it back suddenly. We are not like this. We always keep our promise,” she added.

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