Union Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh on Thursday claimed that the Narendra Modi government’s healthcare plan was better than the Obamacare healthcare scheme launched by former United States President Barack Obama in his country.

“We [people] have begun to say that ‘Modicare’ has gone far ahead of Obamacare,” Singh said at a press conference in Bhopal. “Obama healthcare [plan] has been much talked about globally, but our government has decided to launch the world’s biggest healthcare [plan] of Rs 5 lakh [coverage] for ten crore people.”

The Ayushman Bharat Swasthya Bima Yojana would be launched by the end of July, health and family welfare minister JP Nadda had said in March. Finance minister Arun Jaitley announced the healthcare plan in his Budget speech on February 1, and the Union Cabinet approved it in March.

The scheme has created a controversy, with many saying that it is an election gimmick rather than an answer to the problems that plague India’s healthcare sector. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has accused the Centre of not discussing the scheme with the states, which are expected to bear 40% of the funding.

Bribery allegations

Asked about allegations of corruption in the procurement of spare parts for transport aircraft An-32, Singh said he was unaware of any letter Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau had sent to his ministry, reported NDTV.

A media report said that the Ukrainian agency had sought legal assistance from the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding its investigation in the case. The defence ministry has termed the news report “misleading” and clarified that neither the ministry nor the Indian Air Force have signed any agreement with Global Marketing SP Ltd, which allegedly paid kickbacks to defence ministry officials.

Singh also told reporters that the Centre was planning to build close to 1,400 bunkers to protect civilians against firing by Pakistani troops. He claimed the government had succeeded in curbing Maoist activities to a large extent. “In India, Maoists are now confined to 90 districts only. Earlier, 126 districts were affected by them.”