West Bengal exits Ayushman Bharat scheme

• The government of West Bengal has decided to exit from the Centre’s ambitious Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana.

Reasons cited by the West Bengal for the Withdrawal

• The letter of the West Bengal government to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India has cited the following reasons for the withdrawal.

• The Government of India was issuing entitlement letters to the beneficiaries without the knowledge of the state government.

• Prior to the launch of the Ayushman Bharat scheme, West Bengal had well established Swasthyasathi. It was agreed to retain the name of Swasthyasathi, this was even acknowledged in the MoU between the State and the Ministry of Family and Health, Government of India. But the centre has unilaterally changed the name of the scheme to Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana.

• Even though the state government has a key role in the implementation and is shouldering 40% of the cost for the scheme, the centre is unilaterally taking important decisions and is projecting the scheme as of central scheme rather than centrally sponsored one.

• The Government of West Bengal has alleged that the Central government was politicising the scheme by sending letters about its provisions to every household of the state with the picture of PM and a lotus symbol on top.

• West Bengal has joined states of Telangana, Kerala, Odisha, and Delhi which have opted out of the scheme for varied reasons.

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Mains Paper 2: Governance | Health

Prelims level: Ayushman Bharat scheme

Mains level: Read the sttached story

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