Under one-year programme: Chandy
: The State government is contemplating introduction of a comprehensive health insurance scheme for the poor.
Though the State boasts world-class medical facilities, they were being availed by the rich owing to the high costs involved. “We have world-class treatment available, but only the rich people are availing themselves of it. The government is seriously thinking of making these facilities available to all,” Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said. The scheme would form part of the one-year programme to be announced by his government soon.
The government had already introduced the Rs. 1-a-kg rice to the poor benefiting 32 lakh families as part of its 100-day programme. A budgetary allocation of Rs. 400 crore was made for the scheme, but the government had to spend more than the allocated amount. “We are not feeling it as a burden, because it is launched with an aim to ensure poverty-free Kerala,” he said.
Mr. Chandy, who was here on Wednesday, participated in a meet-the-press programme. Asked about the CPI (M)'s suggestion that the government take over the wealth of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, he said he did not agree with it as the property belonged to the temple and it was kept in a safe way for hundreds of years.
“The wealth will be with the temple and the government is prepared to give full protection to it at a time when a final word is awaited from the Supreme Court,” he said.
Outlining the measures initiated for ensuring transparency in administration such as installing a web camera in his chamber, he said the government had decided to implement the Right to Service principle to deliver qualitative services to people within a specific timeframe. The government had decided to allow social and financial audit of projects costing above Rs.250 crore and efforts were under way to usher in changes in the system as delays in delivery of services were partly due to the existing systems.
Employees and others concerned were being taken into confidence and the government was holding discussions with all the stakeholders towards this end. “Issuance of a ration card normally takes few months. But I have directed the officials to issue the card the same day and conduct enquiries later. The cards can be cancelled if the information is proved wrong,” he said.
Mr. Chandy refused to comment when asked about the BJP's plans to project Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi at the national level claiming that he would not be in a position to make any remarks beyond the boundaries of Kerala.