Maharashtra govt plans to pay accident victims Rs 30k with no funds to fall back on

Updated: Dec 27, 2017, 12:24 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty

Health department proposal to pay up to Rs 30,000 for first 48 hrs of treatment is now with Finance Ministry

In the future, if a loved one were to get injured in a road accident, you will no longer have to waste the golden hours of treatment in scrambling for cash. Instead, the Maharashtra government will cough up the silver, providing up to Rs 30,000 for the first 48 hours of treatment. There's just one hiccup - the state isn't sure where the money will come from. Road accidents have killed as many as 78,317 people in Maharashtra from 2011 to 2016. This is also the state that has witnessed the second-highest number of road accidents - 3.63 lakh - in the country. As per the data from the Union Ministry for Road Transport and Highways, the only state with a worse record is Tamil Nadu.

The state's scheme will ensure that accident victims get treatment in the golden hours, giving them the best chance of recovery
The state's scheme will ensure that accident victims get treatment in the golden hours, giving them the best chance of recovery

mid-day has in the past reported on several cases, where the victims could have been saved, but were turned away by hospitals due to lack of money. This eventually results in the precious golden hours of treatment slipping away, ending in the death of the victim. Now, the state has finally decided to put the emphasis on saving lives, by following in the footsteps of states like Delhi, Kerala and Karnataka, and offering emergency treatment funds for accident victims. The Delhi government announced its scheme this month, which will cover 100 per cent expenses of all accident victims. Kerala launched a trauma care policy to cover medical expenses for the first 48 hours, while Karnataka provides free emergency care amounting up to Rs 25,000 for first 48 hours.

The state's scheme will ensure that accident victims get treatment in the golden hours, giving them the best chance of recovery

Maha scheme
Similarly, the Maharashtra government has proposed a and emergency care policy under which it plans to provide Rs 30,000 for medical expenses in the first 48 hours of treatment. The scheme is tipped to be named after Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray. "The plan is in the pipeline and the file has been sent to higher authorities for finalisation. Irrespective of the victim's residency, the state government will provide Rs 30,000 for treatment for the first two days. Even if the person is from other states, as long as the accident occurs in Maharashtra, the victim will benefit from the scheme," said Dr Satish Pawar, chief of the Directorate of Health Services (DHS).

This paper has reported on several instances where victims succumbed to their injuries because they were not treated on time
Toddler could have been saved In February, this paper had reported on the heartbreaking death of one-and-half-year-old Shahbas Ali, who succumbed to his injuries after being turned away by seven hospitals. After a roadside cart fell on him, his parents desperately took him from one hospital to the next, but they were turned away either because f a lack of beds, or because they were unable to cough up hefty admission fees.

Money is a roadblock
The biggest hurdle for the scheme is funding. "The scheme will require a good amount of funds, so we are working on it. The file has been sent to the finance department for approval," added Dr Pawar. The proposal has already been held back for three months, prompting activist Dr Abhijit More to launch a petition on Change.org on Monday, to push the government to give the green signal. Dr More, founder of the NGO Jan Arogya Abhiyan, said, "Delay in treatment often leads to the death of patients. Valuable time is lost in collecting money or trying to locate a government hospital in the vicinity. What's the point in having 108 emergency services if patients aren't given treatment on time?" "I have filed this petition to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and have requested him to start a scheme for free emergency care for accident victims on the lines of Delhi and Kerala," he added.

Other states:
Delhi pays for full treatment
Kerala pays full cost for first 48 hours of treatment
Karnataka pays up to Rs 25,000 for first 48 hours of treatment

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