Punjab: Centre Warns State Government For Branding Ayushman Bharat Centres As AAP Clinics
The centre has issued a stern warning for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab under Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann.
The state government, for the last few months, has been turning health wellness centres (HWC) into Aam Aadmi clinics, thus violating several guidelines and protocols.
The centre has warned the government that this could result in the former stopping the funding for the National Health Mission (NHM).
As reported by the Tribune, the centre has already released its share of Rs 438 crore for the NHM. However, the AAP, deviating from the mandate, branded all the NHM centres as AAP clinics.
Consequently, the next installment worth Rs 546 crore may not be given to the state, as per a letter addressed by the additional secretary, Health and Family Welfare.
In the current financial year, the centre had approved Rs 1,114.57 crore for the state of Punjab under the mission. Payments for PM-Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission have also been approved.
The letter blames the state government for demeaning the Ayushman Bharat-NHM and for violating the MoU signed between the centre and the state government.
Of the 3,000 health wellness centres in the state, 400 have already been converted and branded into AAP clinics. On 14 January, Mann announced that his government was going to launch 400 more health clinics.
The state government has also been at loggerheads with the Lt. Governor, with the latter raising concerns about the misuse of funds on adverts outside the state, questionable practices in selecting teachers for training abroad and the necessity of it.
Given the debt of the state, estimated at around Rs 3 lakh crore, economists are now suggesting that the state should look to crowdfund money towards a debt-relief fund.
In September 2022, the state government was unable to pay the employees’ salaries on time, resulting in protests. Employees were quick to cite the expenditure on advertisements by the government while being left in a limbo.
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