Under attack over falling short of expenditure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's signature health care scheme 'Ayushman Bharat', Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday defended the move saying the Centre's estimated savings of Rs 90,000 crore on Aadhar-based direct benefit transfer was more than enough to fund the world's largest health care programme.
The scheme was launched late last month with an estimated Rs 2,000 crore funding plan in the first year as announced in the Union Budget 2018-19.
However, critics have raised questions on whether the budgeted sum is enough to fund the scheme that intends to serve 50 crore people.
Last week senior Congress leader and former finance minister had sought to know where was the money to finance such a large healthcare project. He pointed Rs 2,000 crore would not even suffice for two lakh patients.
Chidambaram said that the government had not done enough preparatory work before launching the scheme. There were not enough hospitals in the country in the first place, he said, calling Ayushman Bharat another “Jumla” under the Modi government.
Like Chidamabram many have questioned the math behind the meagre budgetary allocations and the number of people the scheme entails to cover.
Jaitley, however, said that the Aadhar-based direct benefit transfer programme helped the government save over Rs 90,000 crore every year and that would be more than enough to support Ayushman Bharat.