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No curbs on health assistance for the poor, says Minister

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P.K. Sreemathy
P.K. Sreemathy

Special Correspondent

Health Minister refutes reports on denial of aid

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy has denied reports that the Government has imposed curbs on grant of health care assistance from the Society for Medical Assistance for the Poor.

Opposing an adjournment motion on the subject in the Assembly on Monday, Ms. Sreemathy said the Government had not decided not to grant the assistance to those aged above 50 years as alleged by the Opposition. Assistance under the scheme was available only for heart and brain surgeries, kidney ailments and cancer at the five Government medical colleges, Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology and the Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, and not for contagious diseases such as chikungunya. All that the governing council had decided was to give priority to those aged below 50 years and who were breadwinners of the families concerned when sanctioning the assistance.

The Minister said the governing council of the society had not met during the time of the United Democratic Front Government. When the governing council met after the present Government assumed office, it was decided to give priority to applications for assistance received in the past. The council had found that the funds available with it would be sufficient to provide assistance only to 706 persons. This meant that it should fix some criteria to select the persons most eligible for assistance. It was thus decided to give priority to those aged below 50 years and who were breadwinners of their families. It was also decided to give priority to applications from backward districts such as Kasaragod and Wayanad. All applications received by the governing council would be considered eventually and there was no question of anyone genuinely eligible being denied assistance, she added.

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