Hyderabad, Dec 30 (IANS) After rejecting Ayushman Bharat scheme for more than two years, the Telangana government on Wednesday announced it decided to dovetail the state's Arogyasri scheme with Centre's programme.
Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has taken a decision to combine the two.
The Prime Minister on Wednesday held a video conference with Chief Secretaries of all the states to review the progress of various infrastructure projects, Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Manthri Jan Aarogya Yojana, Jal Jeevan Mission etc.
Telangana said that through Mission Bhagiratha, it has provided safe tap water to all households. The Centre has acknowledged that 98.5 per cent of the households in Telangana have been covered with safe drinking tap water.
The state government's decision has come as a surprise as it has been maintaining that Arogyasri scheme is comprehensive and better than Ayushman Bharat.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been criticizing the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government for not implementing Ayushman Bharat.
BJP leaders had raised this issue in the recent elections to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). Party President J.P. Nadda had targeted the state government for depriving people of Telangana of the benefits of Ayushman Bharat, which provides Rs 5 lakh health coverage.
Rejecting Ayushman Bharat in favour of Aarogyasri medical health cover scheme for the poor, Chandrasekhar Rao had stated in the Assembly last year that the state government is not interested in wasting public money on those central schemes which are not beneficial to the people.
While presenting the state budget, KCR had claimed that Arogyasri was more beneficial and had a wider outreach than the Ayushman Bharat scheme and that the government is spending Rs 1,336 crore a year to help 85.34 lakh families.
With Ayushman Bharat, it is possible for the state to provide medical benefits only to the extent of Rs 250 crore a year benefiting only 26 lakh families, he had said.
KCR had also claimed that through Arogyasri, the state government is extending services relating to 25 distinct organ transplant procedures free of cost which is not available under Ayushman Bharat scheme.