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Mamata government wants to enroll for PM-Kisan, Ayushman Bharat if funds routed through state West Bengal
Mamata Banerjee addressing a press conference at state headquarters Nabanna (Image Credit: UNI)

Mamata government wants to enroll for PM-Kisan, Ayushman Bharat if funds routed through state

Souvik Ghosh/IBNS | @indiablooms | 22 Sep 2020, 08:06 pm

Kolkata/IBNS: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) government has agreed to enroll West Bengal for two central schemes- Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi and Ayushman Bharat- but only if the funds are routed through the state.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee earlier this month wrote two letters to the respective ministries, expressing eagerness to enroll for the two schemes.

In a letter to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Sept 9, Banerjee wrote, "... the State Government in Bengal has already introduced way before the Krishak Bandhu scheme to provide financial assistance to farmers including sharecroppers."

"... Moreover, the state government provides comprehensive crop insurance facilities to farmers where the entire insurance premium is borne by the state government and is completely free for the farmers."

"However, we will be happy to provide benefits to the farmers under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme, and in that case, the Central Government may transfer the requisite fund direct to the State Government for further disbursement with full responsibility, to the beneficiaries, through the State Government machinery."

In a letter to Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on the same day, the CM wrote, ".. the state government launched the Swastha Sathi scheme that not only provides 100 per cent free treatment, medicines and diagnostics to all government hospitals, but also free treatment, medicine and diagnostics to beneficiaries under the scheme in private healthcare facilities as well, up to Rs. 5 lakh per family per year in critical illnesses..."

"... However, Ayushman Bharat Scheme may be extended by the Government of India with entire 100% (per cent) expenditure for the scheme. In such a case, the entire funding for the scheme may be routed through the State Government."

The TMC government in West Bengal has often been criticised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)- which rules the Centre- for depriving poor people of free treatment by not enrolling into the scheme, allegedly stooping to petty politics.

Countering the state government's letters, BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha trained his guns at the ruling dispensation, saying, "The TMC wants to implement Ayushman Bharat and Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi through the state government to generate party fund for upcoming elections and cut-money for its cadres."