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Central Team Seeks Proof from Bengal Govt on Medics’ Option to Choose Between Virus Insurance Schemes

Kolkata: The Inter Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) has sought an ‘official order copy’ of the Bengal government to substantiate their claim that they have kept the option before people to choose any health insurance scheme — from the one announced by the central government and also that of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

On March 26, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to provide insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh to frontline health workers involved in efforts against coronavirus; since they are at a high risk of getting infected.

On similar lines, Banerjee also announced an insurance cover of Rs 10 lakh to all frontline workers, including accredited journalists, on April 21. An earlier amount of Rs 5 lakh cover announced by her was increased to double by her through this.

Several people allege that the state government in West Bengal is not implementing Central government schemes. IMCT leader Apurva Chandra also raised the matter with the state government.

The IMCT team got a response from the state secretariat — which said all all health workers were free to choose between either of the insurance scheme.

IMCT has still sought an official copy confirming the stance.

In a letter to Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha, the IMCT leader Apurva Chandra, said, “The state government has a scheme for providing compensation of Rs 10 lakh in case of a death of a health worker due to Covid-19.”

“The scheme of government of India provides for Rs 50 lakh in such an unfortunate eventuality. The IMCT was informed that a health worker in West Bengal is free to choose any of the options. Any orders of the state government in this regard may be provided.”

IMCT members were also told by the Bengal government that the state is at the beginning of the coronavirus curve compared to other states.

Chandra, on the basis of that claim, mentions in his letter — “From the presentation, it appeared that the state is reaching almost its peak capacity for testing. Since the state believes that it is at the beginning of the curve compared to other states, the IMCT may be provided with any efforts made by the state to increase its testing capacity further in future considering the large population of the state to say 2,500 or 5000 per day and over what time period.”

Chandra’s letter also touches upon the fact that in a presentation IMCT was informed that medical professionals can get tested at their own discretion, even on a daily basis.

“Any orders of state government in this regard may be provided as there is considerable disquiet among medical professional in the social media regarding their vulnerability to the disease,” it mentions.

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