'Delhi's healthcare schemes better than Centre's'

Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal. (PTI Photo)

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday that the healthcare schemes of the Delhi government were better than the Centre's Ayushman Bharat, underlining that such programmes of his dispensation was completely free for all irrespective of the rich or poor.

Addressing his sixth town hall meeting at the Delhi Technological University Campus at Shahbad Daulatpur in North West Delhi, Kejriwal said the Ayushman Bharat scheme assured insurance for the people, but those who owned a scooter, fridge, and cell phones and had an income of Rs 10,000 would be excluded.

"If these criteria applied, there will be no one eligible for the scheme. Therefore we decided to not implement it," the chief minister said at the event that was moderated by news channels anchors.

"Even expenses on treatment, surgeries and medicines in private hospitals are borne by the Delhi government. If the Delhi government wants, Ayushman Bharat can be implemented today itself. But it doesn't simply work in Delhi," he said. "Delhi's healthcare schemes are better than Centre's Ayushman Bharat."

The Aam Aadmi Party government has built Mohalla Clinics, which provide free primary healthcare facilities, while government-run hospitals also provide free treatment and medicines.

Emphasising on the need for Centre-state coordination to streamline effective delivery of government services and schemes to the people, Kejriwal said there should be competition as well as coordination between the governments.

"If we are providing free electricity to the people of Delhi, the central government, as well as other state governments, should competitively implement such a path-breaking scheme in the entire country," he said.

Expressing concern over unemployment and lack of jobs, Kejriwal said the Centre must call a meeting of all the chief ministers.

"I am sure that a solution will be devised. Industries and businesses are shutting down, the process of sealing is happening and employment is decreasing," he said.

According to the chief minister, the AAP government had devised long-term measures like constructing skill universities and introducing entrepreneurship curriculum from Class 9-12.

"For short term measures, all the state and central governments must work collectively to address this issue," he said.

Kejriwal underlined the need for collaboration between the Centre and state governments to reduce pollution in Delhi.

He acknowledged that construction of the East-West peripheral expressways by the Centre, saying the highways significantly reduced pollution and removed the entry of 30,000-40,000 trucks per day in Delhi.

The town hall meetings are being held as part of the AAP's election campaign. Polls are likely to be held in Delhi early this year. 

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