To enable people from the economically weaker sections of society in Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) limits get quality healthcare, the State Government's Vajpayee Arogyasri health insurance scheme was launched in the city on Saturday.
Launching the scheme, Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda said the annual allocation for health in the State Budget would be increased substantially and Rs. 45 crore would be set aside exclusively for this scheme.
Pointing out that a majority of the grievances received at Janata Darshan programmes were regarding health issues, the Chief Minister said he had disbursed Rs. 13.5 crore as medical relief through his discretionary quota in the last four-and-a-half months (after he assumed charge as Chief Minister).
Some 35 lakh people from 7 lakh poor families will benefit from the health insurance scheme.
Cashless medical treatment, including surgery for 402 ailments such as heart and kidney disease, neurological problems, accidents, maternity care and even burns, will be provided in 37 empanelled private and government hospitals in the city.
People from the economically weaker sections (who have BPL cards) apart from senior citizens, pensioners, autorickshaw and truck drivers, pourakarmikas and slum-dwellers can avail themselves of the benefits of the scheme.
Nearly 2,000 beneficiaries identified in Malleswaram Assembly constituency were issued smart health cards on Saturday.
The BBMP had set up a huge pandal and 40 counters on the premises of Malleswaram grounds to distribute the cards.
Mayor Sharadamma said BBMP had set aside Rs. 20.88 crore in its budget to implement this scheme. It would soon start enrolment of beneficiaries in other wards of the city: “We have even included senior citizens, widows and persons with disabilities under the scheme.”
Transport Minister R. Ashok and Malleswaram MLA C.N. Ashwath Narayan also spoke.
Deputy Mayor S. Harish said the BBMP would soon extend health services to all sections of society by collaborating with private and top government hospitals.
Mr. Harish told The Hindu on the sidelines of the programme that the BBMP had recently tied up with Vasavi Healthcare to provide free dialysis facilities to people.
“We are also starting a 100-bed BBMP ward in Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research and a 50-bed ward in Bangalore Kidney Foundation at a total cost of Rs. 4 crore. We are also donating Rs. 1 crore to the State-run Karnataka Institute of Diabetology. We are looking at more such collaborations,” the Deputy Mayor added.