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West Bengal first state to opt out of ‘Modicare’, Mamata says 'won’t pay for it'

Krishnanagar: Slamming the Narendra Modi government for declaring a health insurance scheme -- Modicare -- without consulting the states, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday decided to opt out of the scheme.

Addressing a public rally in Krishnanagar on Tuesday, Banerjee said the state will not “waste” its hard-earned resources to contribute its share to the programme.

“You have decided that 40 per cent of that would have to be borne by states. Why? Did you discuss with us before deciding on it? You cannot force us to pay. If we had money we would have done that on our own,” the chief minister said.

Stating that the state already has a health insurance scheme Swasthya Sathi programme in place for around 50 lakh people, who are government employees and contractual or casual labourers, Mamata said, “There is nothing new in this (Modicare). We cannot accept the Central government’s diktat.”

Also read: Govt's health cover plan 'Modicare' to cost Rs 110 billion: report

Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant has pegged the expenses for the Centre’s health plan at Rs 5,500-6,000 crore a year. The Centre has made a provisional allocation of Rs 2,000 crore and wants states to bear the rest.

Mamta Banerjee further ridiculed the 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana' and slammed the Modi government for allocating ‘paltry’ fund for the project.

Criticising the Centre on the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill, she said, “The Centre has now come up with an FRDI Bill that allows banks to take away a portion of your fixed deposits. We have asked them to withdraw this bill. This will lead people away from banks at a time when we are asking depositors against parking their hard-earned money in chit funds.”

The chief minister further threatened to launch an agitation if the Central government decides to go ahead with the FRDI Bill.

“Through this bill, they would take away your fixed deposits. They have also said that bank would not accept cash. If people would not deposit cash then they would park their money with chit funds. Will that be good?” she asked.

“If they don’t take it (FRDI Bill) back, I have decided to start a massive protest,” Mamata said.

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