Odisha CM re­news fo­cus on so­cial sec­tor

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Nation - De­babrata Mohanty let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha chief min­is­ter Naveen Pat­naik has re­newed his fo­cus on so­cial sec­tor, es­pe­cially health­care and food se­cu­rity, and has also set up tribal coun­cils in a bid to woo vot­ers ahead of next year’s state polls.

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief has asked state’s bu­reau­crats to reach out to each of the seven mil­lion fam­i­lies who will re­ceive health cover un­der the re­named Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yo­jana (BSKY) with a per­son­alised let­ter, a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter said.

The re­vamped scheme, named af­ter the CM’s late fa­ther Biju Pat­naik, ex­tends an an­nual health cover of ₹5 lakh and ₹7 lakh (up from a max­i­mum ₹3 lakh) to over seven mil­lion fam­i­lies al­ready ben­e­fit­ting un­der Cen­tre-spon­sored Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yo­jana and state’s Biju Krushak Kalyan Yo­jana. The scheme is slated to be of­fi­cially launched on Au­gust 15.

“Health­care is be­com­ing costly day by day and a large chunk of the BJD’s vote-bank of women and trib­als are poor who suf­fer more due to lack of fi­nan­cial mus­cle to ac­cess good health­care. It makes per­fect sense for the CM to spend more on health­care,” said Satya Prakash Das, po­lit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor at Sam­balpur Univer­sity.

Op­po­si­tion Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ques­tioned the tim­ing of scheme an­nounce­ment. “If the gov­ern­ment was re­ally con­cerned for the peo­ple left out of the NFSA list, it could have added them in 2015. Why did an­nounce the scheme just around the elec­tion,” asked Samir Mohanty, vice-pres­i­dent of BJP in Odisha.

Biswaran­jan Mohanty, Odisha Congress spokesman, said none of the schemes an­nounced by Pat­naik had ever worked well. “Had these schemes been work­ing, why would you hear re­ports of preg­nant woman de­liv­er­ing ba­bies by road­side?” he asked.

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