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PM Modi starts personal outreach ahead of elections

January 26, 2019

Ahead of the national election, lakhs of households across India are receiving a personalized letter from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is as theAyushman Bharat - PM Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) touches the 100-day mark. This is the largest government-funded healthcare program.

About eight crore letters have been printed at a cost of Rs 15.75 crore by the central government. The letter, which has two sheets, comes in an envelope marked Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana and has details of other major schemes of the Modi government.

I have experienced poverty very closely in my life ...The best way to uplift the poor is by empowering them. For this reason, ever since people elected me as PM and gave me the opportunity to serve them, my endeavour has been to empower the poor, the common people and women. We have taken many steps from building houses to income generation, from education to health. - Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Opposition parties have alleged that this is shameless pre-election propaganda. "The Prime Minister is talking about every possible central government scheme in a letter meant to address health insurance beneficiaries,", said CPM MP M B Rajesh. "Each letter is being sent as speed post from the post office to the recipient's home, which can cost upto Rs. 40 for each envelope. The budget for this health insurance is just around Rs. 2,000 crores. Where is this money coming from?"

It was letters like these that led to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to pull out of the Ayushman Bharat earlier this month.

In a note to the Centre, the Bengal Health Department said, "To our surprise, the entitlement letter/card issued by your ministry mentions the name of the scheme as PMJAY, which is not only a violation of the stipulation of the said MoU, but has created unnecessary confusion at the state level.... Under the above mentioned situation, this is to inform you that the Government of West Bengal is withdrawing from Ayushman Bharat-Swasthyasathi scheme with immediate effect".

Many non-BJP states are upset about these letters being sent to people in the state without the state government's consent.



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