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Health insurance scheme on the anvil: Chandy

Special Correspondent
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Says findings against V.A. Arun Kumar on the basis of evidence

Oommen Chandy says thin majority has not affected governance.
Oommen Chandy says thin majority has not affected governance.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said in the Assembly on Thursday that health care should be recognised as a right.

“We are of the view that the country should take steps to guarantee health as a right,” the Chief Minister said while replying to the debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor's address in the House.

Mr. Chandy said that his government planned to implement a comprehensive health insurance scheme. It had already carried out the Karunya Benevolent Scheme, for providing assistance for medical care, with revenues from the State lotteries.

He said that the wafer-thin majority of the government in the House had not affected governance. While disunity had plagued the previous government, the present government was functioning without any differences among the Ministers.

The Chief Minister said that the findings of the Legislature Committee that went into the allegations against Opposition Leader V.S. Achuthanandan's son V.A. Arun Kumar had been arrived at on the basis of evidence. The government had no role in it, as the enquiry by the committee had been sought by Mr. Achuthanandan himself.

Mr. Chandy said that the government was trying to attract maximum investments in the Kochi-Coimbatore corridor. It would be able to achieve Plan expenditure this year on a par with last year. Expenditure under Tribal Sub-plan would also reach last year's levels. There were no arrears in payment of agriculture workers' pensions.

Listing the achievements of his government, he said that the government had ensured a zero-waste, accident-free and exploitation-free pilgrimage at Sabarimala. Textbooks for schools had been distributed ahead of the academic year. Much progress had been made in infrastructure projects, including high speed rail corridor. Finance Minister K.M. Mani said that the Supreme Court directive on inter-linking of rivers would have no adverse effect on Kerala. The State had all rights over its rivers and even the apex court could not order it to part with its waters. Only the Assembly had the powers to divert waters from the State's rivers. Refuting the criticisms made by CPI (M) leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Mr. Mani said administrative sanction had already been given for most of the proposals in the revised budget for the current year.


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