West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today announced that any person without health insurance will be entitled to get included in the government-sponsored Sasthya Sathi health scheme under which a family will get health coverage amounting to Rs five lakh a year.

This will come into effect from December. Two and a half crore of the population will be included in the scheme and the state government will have to spend Rs 2,000 crore a year for this. The scheme currently has 7.5 beneficiaries. There are around 1500 empanelled private hospitals along with the government hospitals.

People can enroll themselves in the scheme by applying at camps that would be set up under the “Duare Duare Sarkar” or “Government at Doorstep” initiative that will begin from next month.

“This is a landmark decision and is an example for the entire world. The woman member of the family will be treated as the head and the Sasthya Sathi card will be handed over to her. Through the scheme we are working at women empowerment,” said Miss Banerjee at a Press Conference in Nabanna.

She said that the scheme will be beneficial to hawkers, domestic workers, transport operators, unemployed and any person who does not have any health insurance coverage. “We are thus helping people by giving them free food, treatment and scholarships for pursuing education,” she said adding that one crore cycles have been distributed under the ‘Sabuj Sathi’ scheme and another 12 lakh cycles will be given in January. This apart, Rs 2,000 is given for performing last rites.

Taking a dig at Centre sponsored ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme, Miss Banerjee said the Centre pays only 60 per cent while rest has to be paid by the state government but in the ‘Sasthya Sathi’ scheme the entire financial burden is borne by the state.

Committee to impart Netaji’s life:

Miss Banerjee yet again urged the Centre to bring files related to Netaji in public domain and said that the state government has declassified all the files in its possession. She has also requested the Centre to declare a national holiday on 23 January.

State government today set up a committee headed by Miss Banerjee to plan year-long celebrations for Netaji’s 125th birth anniversary. The committee will comprise nobel laureates Amartya Sen and Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, Sugato Basu, Sumantra Bose, Amit Mitra, Shankha Ghosh, Bratya Basu, Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Joy Goswami and others. The committee will plan the programmes till block level and publicise Netaji’s life, philosophy, fight, movement and his love for the country. Hopefully, other states will take a cue from us and plan similar yearlong celebrations, she said.

In the wake of allegations of corruption made by Opposition parties, Miss Banerjee said there is only one per cent of the corruption that exists in BJP-run states. “Those who are accusing us of corruption should look out for Uttar Pradesh and other BJPrun states. Bengal does not have even one per cent of the corruption. Though we don’t support even that much corruption and have to rectify it. Corruption existed during the Left Front’s tenure but we have tried to improve the situation,” she said.

Yet again slamming the Union home minister Amit Shah, Miss Banerjee said that instead of running the country, he is holding civic polls and clicking photographs of having lunch at some person’s house. The country is experiencing an economic slowdown while the leaders are busy in giving ‘big talks’, she added.

Support the cause not strike, says Mamata

“We support the causes behind today’s trade union strike in principle but our government is against holding any kind of strike and this has been our stand since 2011, said chief minister Mamata Banerjee in Nabanna today adding that the Centre is selling off the country’s assets.