New Delhi, Oct 19 | In the run-up to the upcoming Delhi Assembly polls, incumbent Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are heating up the scene as they aggressively root for their respective flagship health programmes like mohalla clinics, the accident care scheme, Farishte, and the Centre’s flagship programme, Ayushman Bharat.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal inaugurated 100 mohalla clinics on Saturday, while the Centre’s ambitious ‘health for all’ scheme has completed one year and it recently announced hospitalisation benefits for 50 lakh people free of cost.
Delhi, along with some opposition-ruled states like West Bengal, Orissa and Telangana, has stayed out of the Ayushman Bharat scheme and instead opted for implementing its own schemes.
The tussle between AAP and BJP, which are the principal parties in the national capital, becomes more interesting as the interface on the health schemes is with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who is currently a BJP MP from Chandni Chowk.
Kejriwal tweeted on Saturday that with the inauguration of 100 mohalla clinics, more than 300 such clinics have been opened in Delhi. “Lakhs of people can avail of healthcare services in their own locality”, he said.
“On such occasions it feels that entry of the common man into politics has proven to be meaningful. This politics has changed the people’s life”, Kejriwal said, which implies that it will be a major election pitch. The AAP government aims to set up 1,000 such mohalla clinics in the capital.
“3 lakh CCTV, 2 lakh streetlight, 22,000 classrooms, 1,000 mohalla clinics-work on such a huge scale has never happened in the world. AAP is the first political party in the country which can proudly claim that only if we have done work then only vote for us. And the people on their own start counting our work”, Kejriwal claimed in a recent tweet, clearly in election mode.
The Union Health Ministry has reached out repeatedly to states, including Delhi, which have not yet joined Ayushman Bharat to persuade them to do so. When asked about Delhi not joining the scheme on account of mohalla clinics, Harsh Vardhan had earlier said that he will reveal the real story behind the mohalla clinics.
The BJP has been alleging for some time now that mohalla clinics scheme is a scam and utter flop. Harsh Vardhan is currently away to Japan for a G20 Health Ministers meet.
With Kejriwal reportedly seeking a grant from the central government for the Farishte scheme, a political slugfest is on the cards.
At a meeting of the Central Council of Health and Family Welfare on October 12, which was attended by state health ministers, a resolution was passed on Ayushman Bharat: PM-JAY scheme to ensure that all entitled beneficiaries have access to cashless, quality secondary and tertiary care as envisaged under the PM-JAY scheme.
Kejriwal and Harsh Vardhan have been locked in a war of words on the implementation of Ayushman Bharat in Delhi. In June this year, Kejriwal had written to the Health Minister stating that Delhi already has a 10 times better scheme.
According to the Delhi government, the Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics (AAMCs) aim to provide primary health care services accessible within the communities in Delhi at their doorstep. These have been envisaged as box type re-located structures.