Non-BJP govts say no to Modicare, claim they have better schemes

New Delhi: The ambitious Modicare health insurance scheme has got entangled in a political slugfest.

The non-BJP ruled states of New Delhi, Punjab, West Bengal and Odisha do not seem to be in a mood to implement the scheme. The Central Government hopes to sign MoUs with all the states by June 14 on implementation of Modicare.

The Centre had called a meeting of state health secretaries in this regard in April. In the second week of May, another meeting with the health secretaries was conducted via video conferencing.

17 states have signed MoUs

Seventeen states have, so far, signed the MoU to date.States other than Delhi, Punjab, West Bengal and Odisha have also agreed to implement Modicare. After the change of government in Karnataka, there are still doubts about the scheme’s implementation there. However, the former Siddaramaiah government had granted its approval.

According to senior Health Ministry officials, the four governments have argued that they have better plans for BPL families in place. However, sources claim that the real reason why the states are dithering on implementing the scheme is political. No party wants the BJP to benefit from this in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Announcement likely on I-Day

According to a Health Ministry official, even if some states do not sign the MoU, the scheme will be launched from the designated date. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to announce the launch of the scheme from the Red Fort on August 15. A few days later, the scheme will be launched at a programme.

According to Indu Bhushan, CEO, National Health Protection Mission, Delhi, Punjab, West Bengal and Odisha have not yet agreed to the MoU. Their argument is that they are evaluating the scheme. The Health Ministry has prepared separate presentations according to the objections made by the states. But the states have not given any positive answer, she said.