Pondy CM asks Cong MLAs not to give political colour to Ayushman Bharat

Puducherry: Ticking off ruling Congress members in the assembly for attacking BJP over the Ayushman Bharat scheme, Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Tuesday asked them not to give a political colour to the initiative meant for the poor people.

He made the point while intervening during heated exchanges between a section of Congress MLAs and BJP legislator V Saminathan after the former accused the saffron party of using the flagship health insurance scheme for its political advantage.

The Ayushman Bharat-Pradan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, which provides an annual health cover of Rs five lakh per family and seeks to cover 50 crore people in the country, was launched in Puducherry last Saturday.

Narayanasamy rejected his party MLAs‘ description of the scheme as “politically oriented” and said it was being implemented jointly by the Centre and the Puducherry government and it was meant for the good of the poor.

While 60 per cent of the premium for the scheme was provided by the Centre, the union territory government was meeting the remaining 40 per cent, the chief minister said.

He said around 1.02 lakh poor families in the UT would be covered in the first phase and the scheme would be extended soon to cover all the Below Poverty line families. Narayanasamy counselled his party legislators not to give a political colour to the scheme.

Health Minister Malladi Krishna Rao recalled his meeting with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan last week urging the Centre to ensure that all the poor families in Puducherry were covered and said the plea was under the Centre’s consideration.