West Bengal Becomes First State To Withdraw From 'Modicare' National Health Protection Scheme

| February 14 , 2018 , 08:55 IST

One of the major highlights of the Union Budget 2018 presented on February 1, was the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) dubbed as 'Modicare' which is being considered as the world's largest scheme to provide quality health coverage to 500 million people from financially vulnerable households.

West Bengal on Tuesday became the first state of India to withdraw from the Modicae NHPS as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that the state would not "waste" its hard-earned resources to contribute to the scheme.

"The Centre has drawn up a health plan in which 40% of the fund has to come from states. But why should the state spend on another programme when it already has its own? A state will have its own scheme if it has the resources," Banerjee said, addressing a public meeting in Krishnanagar.

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Amitabh Kant, CEO of Niti Aayog pegged the expenses for the health plan announced by the Centre at Rs 5,500-6,000 crore per year, out of which the Centre has made a provisional allocation of Rs 2,000 crore, wanting states to bear the rest.

The WB CM, said that her government has already made hospitalisation and treatment free in the state.

"We have done it even after the Centre takes away Rs 48,000 crore a year for debt-servicing the loan liability left behind by the preceding CPM government," she added.

The National Health Protection Scheme has been touted as a massive endeavour, especially considering the population of India, and effective roll-out would be heavily dependent on the degree of cooperation from the respective states. Apart from West Bengal, no other state has reportedly yet voiced an opposition to the health scheme, which the Centre hopes to roll-out by October 2, 2018.