Odisha CM renews focus on social sector
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.