Name game on! Rajiv Gandhi health scheme now named after Mahatma Phule

Jun 08, 2016, 08:22 IST | Dharmendra Jore

While renaming the scheme after the OBC icon could be seen as the state’s move against accusations of ignoring backward classes, it is also drawing ire from the opposition

The BJP-Shiv Sena government, which is currently facing accusations that the Other Backward Classes are being ignored socially and politically, has renamed a health scheme after an OBC icon Mahatma Jyotiba Phule.

In renaming the scheme as Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana, which was earlier known as Rajiv Gandhi Jivandayee Yojana, the government has invited heavy criticism from the Congress. The erstwhile ruling party has accused the government of “mental bankruptcy”.

Congress MLC Sanjay Dutt strongly opposed the government’s move. “It proves government’s mental bankruptcy when a good scheme is already in existence. The government has proved that it’s just a name changer and not game changer,” he said.

A Thackeray scheme
Sources said that the Sena, which has its leader as the public health minister Dipak Sawant, wanted to name the state-wide scheme after late Bal Thackeray, but scrapped the idea as it would have invited angry reactions from the opposition. The party has now decided to start a new scheme for accidents victims under Thackeray’s name.

Sawant said after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting the government did not want to associate Thackeray’s name with any scheme that was started in the Congress regime. “We will have a brand new project in the honour of Balasaheb,” he said, adding that under the scheme accident victims who are economically weaker will be treated free for the first three days.

Not political
He denied any politics in scrapping Rajiv Gandhi scheme. “Anyways the scheme will end in November this year. We will have many ailments, including kidney transplant, treated under the Mahatma Phule scheme.”

The project includes government paying for the medical treatment of economically weaker sections at government as well as private hospitals.

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