The Aam Aadmi Party on Monday called the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat scheme a “jumla”, and demanded that Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan allot land for mohalla clinics in Delhi.
The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, which is the health insurance programme under Ayushman Bharat, was launched in September. It aims to provide health insurance cover of upto Rs 5 lakh to 500 million poor families. Several states such as West Bengal, Telangana, Odisha and Delhi have not adopted the scheme.
“Union Minister Harsh Vardhan wants to impose Ayushman Bharat scheme on Delhi,” AAP Spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said in a video message. “If you have a fridge, scooter or two-wheeler, or your income is above Rs 10,000, the Centre will not provide you treatment. If your income is below 10,000 and you have none of these [amenities], then only you will get treatment, in a government hospital.”
He said that on the other hand, the Delhi government’s health scheme allows for free treatment for all in its hospitals irrespective of income or other amenities.
“This scheme [Ayushman Bharat] is applicable in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, ruled by BJP government,” Bharadwaj said. “If this scheme is so good...why is it that in Delhi’s government hospitals, more than half the patients even today come from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh? Does this not mean that this scheme is a ‘jumla’, a flop?”
Bharadwaj said that the Delhi Development Authority and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi are ruled by the BJP. He added that the DDA has not allotted to the Delhi government land for a single mohalla clinic as yet. “If Harsh Vardhan is so concerned about the well being of the people of Delhi then he should allot land for construction of mohalla clinics,” he added.
The political fight
The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government in Delhi has refused to implement the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat scheme. On June 7, Kejriwal wrote to Harsh Vardhan claiming that his government’s health scheme was “ten times bigger and comprehensive” than Ayushman Bharat.
“A good health scheme is already implemented in Delhi,” Kejriwal wrote in the letter. “Stopping it and implementing another won’t benefit anyone. If Delhi’s Health Scheme is stopped and Ayushman Bharat Yojana implemented, residents will be affected.”
On Sunday, Vardhan shot back, claiming that the Delhi chief minister’s “callous” response shows he is “least interested” in the welfare of the people of the city. “Your mohalla clinics are an utter flop and the drastic neglect of patient care in Delhi government hospitals is there for all to see,” Vardhan said according to PTI.
He added: “Shriman Kejriwal ji, your tenure as chief minister of Delhi is about to expire. It is only with an eye on the impending Assembly election that you have started befooling the public by showering bizarre schemes one after another that shall never take off.” Vardhan was referring to elections to 70 Assembly seats in Delhi, due early in 2020.