Yesterday few ’eminent’ commentators on Twitter started raising alarm that the government had decided to stop extending free treatment to those patients suffering from Tuberculosis who don’t have an Aadhar card. Taken on face value, this was certainly a serious issue as denying someone free treatment for a life threatening disease just because he/she hadn’t yet managed to procure an Aadhar card didn’t make sense.
This situation would turn out to be very grave as Tuberculosis is largely known to affect those belonging to the lower strata of the society who in most cases would not be able to afford to pay for good quality treatment. The news was incidentally covered by the leftist propaganda blog Scroll, and predictably things weren’t as straightforward as they seemed. The article mentioned a notification by the Health Ministry that states that those who seek cash assistance under the government’s tuberculosis treatment scheme would have to show Aadhar in order to avail the cash benefits provided under the program.
Incidentally the same source later in the report also ended up clarifying that there was no question of government hospitals denying treatment to someone who doesn’t have an Aadhar. According to the source, the patients availing this scheme would actually end up getting Rs 3000 from the government if he/she had an Aadhar card or just had managed to apply for one.
The entire controversy is completely based on a 16th July notification by the by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The government currently administers tuberculosis treatment via its scheme called Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) and web application called Nikshay. The notification stated that if the patients wished to avail the conditional cash assistance, which was part of the scheme, they would have to furnish an Aadhar Card for the same.
Atleast this clears that the notification nowhere either mention or even hints that those seeking treatment for TB would have to have to furnish an Aadhar card. The involvement of private firms are necessary in the combat against TB as has been detailed, thus the government is justified in providing the incentives while if someone avails treatment for TB at government institutions is already free.
With no surprise, The Wire too decided to carry this fake news & ironically ended up proving that this notification about might actually be a blessing in disguise. The government’s intention to link the cash transfers to the beneficiaries makes sense as the government in its effort to completely eradicate tuberculosis is planning to substantially increase its investment. As per the reports, in order to fully implement the proposed National Strategic Plan (2017-2025) which should bring down tuberculosis infections by 80%, the government would have to spend a whopping Rs 16,649 crores in the period of 2017-2020, which turns out be an increase of 400% over its existing expenditure.
Now it definitely makes sense that the government would want to ensure that the money reaches the right persons and doesn’t get siphoned off.
Yesterday few ’eminent’ commentators on Twitter started raising alarm that the government had decided to stop extending free treatment to those patients suffering from Tuberculosis who don’t have an Aadhar card. Taken on face value, this was certainly a serious issue as denying someone free treatment for a life threatening disease just because he/she hadn't yet managed to procure an Aadhar card didn’t make sense.
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