Not here for marketing of WB: Speaker to Trinamool member

New Delhi: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Friday told Trinamool Congress member not to do “marketing” of West Bengal government as he was seeking to counter the Centre’s charge that the state government was not joining its ambitious Ayushman Bharat scheme.

The Speaker’s remarks came during Question Hour when Trinamool’s Sudip Bandopadhyay said the West Bengal government has introduced a scheme called “Swasthya Sathi Prakalpa” through which every family gets Rs five lakh every year.

As he took the name of the scheme and the state government, Birla said, “You are not here for marketing West Bengal. Ask your question.”

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After this, the senior Trinamool leader sought to know from the minister it was only West Bengal or other states too that have refused to join the Ayushman Bharat scheme.

“The minister said that West Bengal was not joining the Ayushmaan Bharat scheme. By saying this, he has targeted Bengal. I want to say that Bengal has introduced the scheme Swasthya Sathi for which it gives Rs 5 lakh to each family every year,” he said.

Responding to his query Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said despite his repeated requests, the West Bengal government has not yet joined this scheme.

“This scheme is in the interest of the people and the states should join the scheme in their larger interest,” he said.

The Minister said that four states including West Bengal and Delhi have so far not joined the scheme.

“I have written to the Chief Ministers of the four states urging them to join the scheme. Odisha government has responded. They are on board now and will soon join this scheme,” Harsh Vardhan said.

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