Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Wednesday,11 September, said that to provide free health services to poor people, the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) would be implemented in "mission mode" by revising the tariffs of various health services in government hospitals.
The state government on Friday, 6 September, announced provisional revised tariffs of 14 hospital services and 286 biochemistry, pathological, radiological, digital and clinical tests causing widespread criticism and agitation by the opposition parties including, the Congress and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).
"The Tripura government would execute the PMJAY on mission mode by revising the tariffs of various health services in government hospitals to provide free, quality and affordable treatment facilities in the state," the chief minister told media persons here amidst the opposition parties' stir on the issue.
"The opposition parties without hearing the government opinion on the issue and without studying the government's decision properly, have started hue and cry to acquire the political mileage," he said.
Criticising the Left leaders, Deb, who also holds the health portfolio, said that during the Left Front government rule in the state, even poor people categorised under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) had not been provided free healthcare.
“The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party)-led government has been providing complete free health services to the people under AAY. After the final revision of health service tariffs, it would be officially notified and operational instruction would be given to the Health and Family Welfare Department,” the chief minister said in his marathon press briefing.
"Compared to the rates of health services during the Left Front regime, in the provisional revision of tariffs tentatively planned, 35 to 50 per cent charges of health services have been reduced.”
Owing to the partisan and faulty economic census conducted under Left Front rule 84,000 families comprising 3.50 lakh people have been excluded.
“The present government has sanctioned Rs nine crore to provide free health services to them.”Biplab Kumar Deb
He said that due to the haphazard management of the health department by the previous Left Front government, the health directorate and various hospitals have debts of over Rs 51 crore for purchasing medicines and other medical treatment related items.
“The new tariff would not be enforced on poor people categorised under the Antyodaya Yojana and in hundreds of Primary Health Centres, Community Health Centres and sub-centres. Various dialysis, treatment of cancer and some critical, communicable and non- communicable diseases would remain free even after the revision of hospital tariffs.”Biplab Kumar Deb
He said that out of Tripura's 37 lakh population, only 4.87 lakh people have so far enrolled their names in the PMJAY, against the eligible number of 20.57 lakh people.
The fully Central government-sponsored PMJAY scheme, launched in September last year, provides health coverage up to Rs five lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary hospitalisation.
Strongly criticising the government's move, the Congress, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and other opposition parties launched agitations from Monday for withdrawing the new tariffs.
In a letter to the Chief Minister, former Chief Minister and opposition leader Manik Sarkar and former Health Minister and deputy opposition leader Badal Choudhury have urged the state government to withdraw the increased charges.