Staff Reporter

ALAPPUZHA: Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on Thursday demanded adequate grants from the Union government for the State for the implementation of welfare-oriented schemes.

Speaking after the State-wide launch of the Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme at S.L. Puram here, Mr. Achuthanandan said funds that should go directly to the Health Department were ‘restricted’ and given only through the National Rural Health Mission and those that should go directly to the Education Department came with limitations in the form of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac said Rs. 75 crore, including Rs. 12 crore from the Centre, was set aside as premium for the scheme. Families of fishermen, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes that were not enlisted as BPL (below poverty line) families could enjoy the benefits of the scheme with the government set to pay their premium. A unique feature of the State scheme was that the Rs. 75-crore premium would go to hospital development committees and not to the government’s coffers. The scheme, being launched in eight State-run hospitals and seven private hospices in Alappuzha, would be extended to all 14 districts by March.