Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Tuesday said Lt Governor Anil Baijal’s objection to the government’s “Quality Health for All” scheme will render it “unworkable”. Baijal said the income criteria were suggested on the basis of recommendations by government departments and he always supported positive initiatives. “Incorporation of suitable income criteria was suggested by the Lt Governor on the basis of recommendations of the government’s Planning and Finance Department,” said a statement released by the Lt Governor’s office.

Satyendar Jain rejected the criteria saying in case of emergency, a patient, without the income certificate, will have to urgently fetch it from the Sub-Divisional Magistrate’s office, which can encourage bribery. Responding to this, Baijal said that he never asked to seek income certificates. “We should trust people and adopt self-certification.” Noting that no government can have unlimited resources, he questioned if the tax payer’s money should be used to provide financial assistance to the rich.

“It is important that the resources of the government are used first to help the poor and needy. The affluent sections of the society should not crowd out the deserving poor,” Baijal said in the statement. It clarified that the Lt Governor never advised excluding the middle-class from the scheme. “The government is free to choose an appropriate income level that does not exclude the middle classes and the poor from the scheme.”

“If the elected government has a different view, it could have engaged in the consultative exercise as prescribed by rules and matter would have been reconsidered. “However, it is unfortunate that again attempt is being made to settle the issues through media,” he said.

Jain had termed Baijal’s objection to the “Quality Health for All” due to “lack of knowledge of ground realities. LG stalled both Mohalla Clinic schemes for a long time and asked to fix income limit for people to get health services. This is a very tough and complicated work and not a sustainable one,” he told media persons here.”

Jain further added, “Why can’t all people be benefited by the healthcare policy? When all people pay tax, then all deserve free healthcare from the state. Why is the Governor against it? What is the need to fix income limit.”

“We assume that the Health for All should be taken as the right for every citizen — be it poor or rich. It’s about the health of the people of Delhi,” he maintained.

Under the scheme, the Delhi government provides free medicines, tests and several life-saving surgeries through a three-tier network of Mohalla Clinics, Polyclinics and Hospitals.

Jain noted that when Municipal Corporation of Delhi dispensaries doesn’t have any income limit, why can’t the Mohalla Clinics have the same norm.

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