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Is PM Swasth scheme kind of 'jumla' of government: SP leader asks in Rajya Sabha


NEW DELHI: Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav on Wednesday asked the government from where will it arrange Rs 65,560.98 crore for the proposed Pradhan Mantri Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana, and wondered whether it was a kind of 'jumla'.

Participating in a debate on a bill related to ayurveda institute in Rajya Sabha, Yadav said at a time when the entire Health Ministry's budget allocation was only about Rs 65,000 crore for the 2020-21 fiscal, how will it arrange funds for the scheme.

In the 2020-21 budget, only about Rs 65,000 crore was allocated, 35 per cent lower than the ministry's demand of Rs 1,17,000 crore, he said in the Upper House.

"When the ministry's full budget is about Rs 65,000 crore, from where will you get the money for this scheme? Is this a kind of jumla (rhetoric)? You are talking about (spending) more than the budget allocation," he said and asked the Health Minister to tell when the people will benefit from the scheme.

On the opening day of the Monsoon session of Parliament, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had said in Lok Sabha that the government is launching the Pradhan Mantri Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana with an allocation of Rs 65,561 crore for proactively identifying gaps in dealing with challenges posed by COVID-19-like pandemics, epidemics and disasters in the future.

“An Expenditure Finance Memorandum of Rs 65,560.98 crore under Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana is under consideration. This includes investment in research, healthcare and public health infrastructure with particular focus on pandemic management,” the minister had said.

Stating that the government was doing its best during the COVID-19 pandemic, Yadav, however, expressed concern over the ill-treatment meted out to coronavirus patients in hospitals and how lack of counselling facility was forcing patients to commit suicide.

"There should be some kind of regulation on states on how they are treating patients in hospitals. Medicines are thrown at them from a distance. There is no counselling. Some of the patients are committing suicide out of fear," he said.

The patients can deal with the disease in a better way if there is proper counselling.

"Seventy-eighty per cent patients are recovering without any proper medicine," he claimed. He further said that it is not known when the vaccine for COVID-19 will come.

"China or Russia or the US will first bring the vaccines. And our ICMR will keep conducting trials," he said and urged the Centre to help states with resources in the current situation and make available medical facilities to the poor.