Millennium Post

Adding income criteria to health scheme not sustainable: Delhi govt

NEW DELHI: Much to the discontent of the Delhi government, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Tuesday directed it to add income as a criteria to its 'Quality Health for All' scheme, which had been approved passed by the Delhi Cabinet on December 12.
Delhi Health minister Satyendar Jain on Tuesday said that the LG has stalled the scheme due to "lack of knowledge of ground realities" and that it will render the scheme "unworkable".
"The LG stalled both Mohalla clinic schemes for a long time and asked us to fix income limit for people to get health services. This is a very tough and complicated work and not a sustainable one," Jain told reporters.
"Why can't all people be benefited by the healthcare policy? When all people pay tax, then all deserve free healthcare from the state. Why is the Lieutenant Governor against it? What is the need to fix income limit," Jain further questioned.
Under the scheme, the Delhi government aims to provide free medicines, tests and several life-saving surgeries through a three-tier network of Mohalla Clinics, Polyclinics and Hospitals.
"If a hospital has to check the income certificate of each patient before referring him to a private hospital, it would require a whole set of bureaucracy and creation of many new posts," the minister said.
Meanwhile, a clarification sent by the LG Secretariat on the addition of the income criteria stated, "The LG has always supported positive initiatives of the government. Incorporation of suitable income criteria was suggested by the LG on the basis of the recommendation of the Planning and Finance Departments of the Government."
The statement added that no government can have unlimited resources. Therefore, it is important that the resources of the government are used first to help the poor and needy.
"The affluent sections of the society should not crowd out the deserving poor. It is really strange to note that the elected government is of the view that the resources of the state should be used to provide financial assistance to the rich people staying in posh colonies," the LG's statement observed. The statement further clarified that the LG never advised excluding the middle class from the scheme.
"The Government is free to choose an appropriate income level that does not exclude the middle classes and the poor from the scheme," it noted.
The statement further observed that issues have been raised in the media about the difficulties in obtaining an income certificate.
"It may be noted that the LG never imposed any condition of the requirement of income certificate for availing the scheme. This appears to be a presumption.
"An easier way out for the government is to allow residents to avail the benefits of the scheme on the basis of self-certification. The Government should trust the people and there should not be any need for income certificate," it noted.
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