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BJP accuses Bengal, Delhi of ‘non-participation’ in schemes

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Centre on Wednesday accused opposition-ruled states of West Bengal and Delhi of non-participation in two of its major welfare schemes — the PM-Kisan Yojana, under which farmers are given an assistance of Rs 6,000 annually, and the Ayushman Bharat, that provides medical cover of up to Rs 5 lakh to the poor.

At a press briefing after a Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar announced that the norms related to Aadhaar had been relaxed for the PM-Kisan scheme.

“Over 6 crore farmers have benefitted from the scheme. But there was one problem. Aadhaar seeding, a condition for availing this scheme, was taking time at some places. So we have provided relief till November 30. The amount will not be stopped,” Javadekar said.

The assistance provided under the scheme will help the farmers in procuring the inputs for the Rabi or winter crop, he said, adding that the only two states have not implemented the scheme.

“One is West Bengal and the second is Delhi. Because these states did not send the names of the farmers. Farmers get Rs 6,000 sent by the prime minister in all states but not in these two states. Now, it is a federal system…what they do…we will see,” Javadekar added.

West Bengal is ruled by Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by Arvind Kejriwal is in power in Delhi. Both the parties were at loggerheads with the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government in the past over issues such as the 2016 demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes and the rollout of Goods and Services Tax (GST), claiming these moves had slowed down India’s economic growth.

Javadekar said as many as 3.1 million people have availed the benefit of the Aysuhman Bharat scheme and over 30 million had got a card under the scheme. More families will be covered under this scheme, he said.

“Only two states have not participated – West Bengal and Delhi. So the poor across the country get the benefit of this scheme, which provides [insurance] coverage up to Rs 5 lakh but not for West Bengal and Delhi,” Javadekar said. “But I am sure the states will relent and they will join the scheme.”

In a statement, the Centre also said that for PM-KISAN, farmers in the states of Assam, Meghalaya and Jammu and Kashmir, where there has not been enough Aadhaar penetration, have been exempted from this requirement till March 31, 2020.

Reacting to Javadekar’s remark, the West Bangal government said it already had a better scheme for farmers. “Why should we implement the Centre’s scheme if the state is offering a better one? Our scheme provides the owner of one-acre land Rs 5,000 per year in two instalments. Those who own less land get pro-rata grant. Even those who own a marginal one cottah (720 sq ft) of land get Rs 2,000 a year,” said Bengal agriculture minister Asish Banerjee.

Chandrima Bhattacharya, minister of state for health, said on Wednesday that they would not offer any fresh comment as the party and the state government’s stance on Ayushman Bharat have been explained several times in the past.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who also holds the health portfolio, said earlier this year that the state government would not be a part of the Ayushman Bharat scheme because the Prime Minister was “taking credit” for the scheme, while the states were supposed to contribute 40% of the expenses.

Under the West Bengal government’s health insurance scheme, a beneficiary gets a cover of Rs 5 lakh. It also treats a woman as the head of a family and includes the parents of a married woman in the scheme.

AAP and Delhi government refused to comment on the issue.

Meanwhile, Javadekar said that the Union Cabinet was apprised of the progress under National Health Mission (NHM). There has been a decline in the maternal mortality ratio (MMR), under five mortality rate (U5MR) and the infant mortality rate (IMR) since the launch of the NRHM/NHM. At the current rate of decline, India should able to reach the UN-manadated sustainable development goal (MMR-70, U5MR-25) much before the due year — 2030, he said.

India is the biggest success story among Malaria endemic countries in the World, in bringing down the Malaria cases and deaths which declined by 49.09% and 50.52% in 2013 respectively compared to 2017, the minister said. According to a government official, 40,000 more wellness centres will come up this year.

On the issue of purported denial of permission by the Centre to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to attend a climate summit in Denmark, Javadekar said it was meant for “mayor-level” participants, adding a West Bengal minister is going to attend it. An official said requesting anonymity that a separate protocol is followed for chief ministers, rejecting the allegation that opposition parties were being targeted by the BJP-ruled central government.

First Published:
Oct 09, 2019 23:55 IST

Source: HindustanTimes