Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on Monday rejected centre's Ayushman Bharat scheme in favour of state's Aarogya Sri medical health cover scheme for the poor. Making the announcement to the effect in the legislative assembly, the Telangana chief minister said, The state government is not interested in wasting public money on those programmes (central schemes) which are not beneficial to the people.
CM KCR made this announcement during the presentation of the state budget for 2019-2020. KCR presented the budget in the assembly even as T Harish Rao assumed charge as the Finance Minister on Sunday. T Harish Rao presented the budget in the legislative council.
During his speech, KCR claimed that Arogya Sri was more beneficial and had a wider outreach than the Ayushman Bharat scheme and that the government is spending Rs 1,336 crore a year to help 85.34 lakh families.
With Ayushman Bharat, it is possible for the state to provide medical benefits only to the extent of Rs 250 crore a year benefiting only 26 lakh families, the CM said.
Further, through Arogya Sri, the government is extending services relating to 25 distinct organ transplant procedures free of cost which is not available under the AB scheme. KCR also said that the state will examine thoroughly all the central government schemes and will only implement the schemes which are beneficial to the people.
Telangana CM also said that, during the past five years, the state spent Rs 5,37,373 crore on the welfare and development as pointed out in the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General. Of this, the central government's contribution for implementing its 24 schemes was just Rs 31,802 crore, he said.
"The Centre had not paid even a rupee more than this and I request members to take note of this, he said.
The Telangana Chief Minister, an advocate of greater financial autonomy for the state, said the central government is responsible for the slowdown.
"Such a situation has emerged as the central government alone decides the broad fiscal policies in the country. The states have no option but to follow the fiscal policies of the Centre and Telangana is no exception, added KCR.
"We have to tread carefully and cautiously during such a testing time. We cannot go beyond certain limits. Against this backdrop of severe financial crunch we have discussed with several experts and with a practical approach prepared the 201920 budget proposals."
KCR said the state will bank on a dynamic approach to review and make changes as warranted depending on the state's and national economy. He pointed out that the fall in growth rates across sectors has led to the overall reduction in revenues, both direct and indirect, for the Centre as well as the state.
The annual budget for 201920 is being pegged at Rs 1,46,492.30 crore while it was Rs 1,82, 017 crore in the interim budget proposed earlier this year. Of this, Rs 17, 274 crore will be spent on capital expenditure.
The revenue surplus is estimated to be Rs 2,044.08 crore and the fiscal deficit Rs 24,081.74 crore. The state government has decided to allot funds to clear all backlogs and pending bills in all the departments on priority.