Mumbai: BJP-led Maharashtra government on Tuesday decided to rename the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Arogya Yojana, a scheme for cashless treatment for the poor, after social reformer Mahatma Phule, drawing flak from Congress.
"Before being named after Rajiv Gandhi, the scheme was called Jeevandayee Yojana," state Public Health Minister Deepak Sawant told reporters at Mantralaya, after the weekly state cabinet meeting.
The meet, chaired by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, was the first one after the exit of senior minister Eknath Khadse, who resigned in the wake of a string of allegations.
"The earlier scheme, whose tenure ended, has been modified and some new processes added to make it more comprehensive," Sawant said.
These include raising the insurance limit to Rs 2 lakh per family on floater basis and inclusion of new procedures like paediatric, geriatric care, he said.
The Shiv Sena minister also announced a new cashless accident insurance scheme, to cover 3 days of hospitalisation,
named after late Sena chief Bal Thackeray.
Criticising the decision to rename the scheme, MPCC chief Ashok Chavan said, "Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee scheme was a
flagship programme of the Congress regime to provide health to the economically backward people. In the last few years,
the scheme benefited large sections of the society. Renaming the scheme by making minor changes is inappropriate."
By initiating change of name of Rajiv Gandhi Yojana, this government has proved that it's just a name-changer and not a game-changer, Congress MLC Sanjay Dutt said.
"I strongly oppose this decision. It proves the BJP-led government's mental bankruptcy," he said.
Talking about the scheme, Fadnavis said,"the Cabinet has decided to implement Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jeevandayeeni
Yojana in the state with some unique features."
Earlier, 971 ailments were covered in the old scheme. Now, this number got increased to 1,100, including old age issues, hip and knee replacement, sickle cell, anaemia treatment, he said.
Benefits under this scheme increased from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh and from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3 lakh in case of kidney transplantation, he tweeted.
"Ashramshala, orphanage, old age homes and journalists are also now included in this scheme along with farmers from 14 distressed districts," he said.
In October 2015, former Agriculture Minister Eknath Khadse had said that the state government had no plans to
rename the 'Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayi Arogya Yojana'.
"I don't think the scheme will be renamed. It would smack of political bias. There are few instances in the state, where
flagship schemes of previous governments have been renamed after a new dispensation took charge. New governments have
continued with old schemes and started new ones in name of their own leaders," Khadse had said, referring to his
government's new schemes like Deendayal Upadhyay Gharkul Yojana and Pramod Mahajan Skilled Development Scheme.
State unit Congress president Ashok Chavan, in a letter to Fadnavis, had then suggested that the government should focus on improving the quality and scope of the scheme, so that the maximum number of citizens get healthcare facilities.