The Union Budget that was introduced recently surprised one and all, with its radical reform in the health sector, i.e. the National Healthcare Protection Scheme, nicknamed Namocare, which would give an insurance cover of Rs. 5 lakh per year, to at least 10 crore families in India, who’re below the poverty line. In the words of Arun Jaitley, who presented the Budget in the parliament as the Finance Minister for the current NDA government.
The budget, to cut the long story short, was the one which catered more to the poor and oppressed than the elite. It aimed to address the ever-prevalent problem of revolutionizing the nation’s infrastructure, while catering to the needs of the farmers and the industrial workers as well. The urban middle class, however, was left disappointed, with no significant concessions or that were issued in their favor. To add to their woes, a tax rate of 10% was also imposed on the long-term capital gain, denting their chances of enhancing their savings.
However, since the general elections are coming up next year, the budget was implemented on more or less the expected lines. Even then, given its nature, the budget for this year was not only populist, but also stressed on strengthening the base for a robust, flourishing Indian economy. But try explaining this to the current opposition. Never the one to be satisfied, they pounced upon the budget at the drop of a hat and criticized it in the way only they’re famous for.
However, one man stood out amongst them, and he was none other than the ex-Home and Finance Minister for the UPA government, P. Chidambaram. Currently in the docks for misuse of power, and his absurd rants, including his latest comparison of street vendors to beggars, Chidambaram now declares that the health care scheme is nothing more than ‘a big jumla’. To quote him, “The target group is 10 crore families. There is, as yet, no scheme…….assuming that each family will avail Rs 50,000, the amount required per year will be Rs 5 lakh crore. “Is the FM serious?” Chidambaram had asked.
Usually, the current NDA government has been notorious for either staying mum to such barbs or giving weak rebuttals. But not J.P. Nadda, the current Health minister. Irritated by Chidambaram’s current rants, Nadda hit back in style, saying ‘I think Mr Chidambaram should not be taken seriously’
Nadda didn’t just stop at the trolling bit, he further added that the healthcare plan was a “historic and revolutionary” step. “This is the first time in history that any government has shown such courage. I would want that you praise it. We stand committed to it (implementing the scheme).” He also gave an effective retort to Chidambaram’s question on the availability of funds. To quote him, “Every aspect of the scheme has been calculated… We have made all arrangements for it……….The details will be shared only when the government is ready to launch it.
Nadda said the government will pay for the “premium for the NHPS with state’s share. Rs 2,000 crore has been kept for it as of now”.
The scheme will also bring a change in the socio-economic scenario. It will increase the productivity of the common man, he said.
On a light note, I would suggest to Mr. Chidambaram to take a break from his ranting duties and go for a refreshing retreat to Switzerland. As it, summer is brewing in the air, and we do hope that Mr. Chidambaram will be safe and sound in the snowy lands of the Swiss nation. This way, he’ll be immune from the wrath of both the street vendors, and the police officers whose careers he had almost destroyed with his closet sympathy for Ishrat Jahan. Summer is coming, Mr. Chidambaram!