BJP leader Subhash Sharma on Sunday ridiculed Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s statement that Punjab will not need Ayushman Bharat Yojana scheme by next year as the state will have Mohalla clinics and improved hospital infrastructure.
State BJP general secretary Sharma said Mann’s remark only reveals “ignorance” of the government about the Ayushman scheme or a “conspiracy” to close it down in Punjab to provide benefits to private hospitals.
He pointed out that the Ayushman scheme is for providing super-specialised secondary and tertiary treatment to all those who cannot afford it, while the Mohalla clinics are for the first aid and primary medical care.
“Punjab in fact does not need any Mohalla clinics since it already has a strong network of dispensaries spread across the state, particularly the rural areas”, the BJP leader said.
Even if the Mohalla clinics start working in Punjab, these can only provide basic health facilities, though that also was doubtful as these have already failed in Delhi, said Sharma.
The Punjab BJP general secretary apprehended a “conspiracy” to deliberately discourage the Ayushman scheme in Punjab to force people to go for private treatment at an exorbitant cost.
Sharma said the healthcare services in Punjab were already in a shambles and the state government did not seem to be serious in bringing these back on track. He said the PGIMER resumed the treatment of Punjab patients not because the state government paid pending dues but only because Prime Minister Narendra Modi intervened.
Chief Minister Mann on Saturday had said patients in the state would not require the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat Yojana scheme by next year as the state will have Mohalla clinics and improved hospital infrastructure.
Mann’s remark had come as his government came under fire from the Opposition after the premier PGIMER hospital stopped treating patients because of non-payment of dues under the Ayushman scheme.
However, the AAP government had said it had cleared dues of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) and the treatment of patients had resumed.
The Centre’s Ayushman Bharat scheme provides cashless treatment of up to Rs 5 lakh to a family per year and the cost of implementation is shared by the state government.