The Telegraph
Thursday , June 19 , 2014
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Cash trail prompts Sajal probe

Ranchi, June 18: Officiating chief secretary Sajal Chakraborty has taken strong exception to Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK) beneficiaries at RIMS being charged money for what is supposed to be a cashless healthcare scheme for economically deprived pregnant women and infants.

Taking cognisance of the report “Here, free therapy comes with bills” in The Telegraph today, Chakraborty ordered an immediate probe into why zero-cash facilities such as blood transfusions and pathological tests came with price tags for beneficiaries of the central scheme at the state-run hospital in the heart of the capital.

Dr Sumant Mishra, director in chief of health services, Jharkhand Rural Health Mission (JRHM), which routes funds from the Centre for the JSSK, confirmed that Chakraborty had directed an inquiry.

“We have decided to make a thorough inquiry on the total number of JSSK beneficiaries referred to RIMS from different primary health centres and community health centres as well as the treatment provided to them. The real-time expenditure on patients would be made self-evident then,” Mishra said.

The health services boss said he had prior indications that all was not well with this centrally sponsored scheme.

“We know about similar irregularities in Pakur and Sahebganj districts also. It indicates everything is not fine with the scheme,” he said.

Not denying that possibility was high that poor beneficiaries were being fleeced by unscrupulous persons when facilities were meant to be free, Mishra said “people’s ignorance” was also an issue.

“The information, education and communication cell or the IEC cell of JRHM must step up publicity across the corners of the state,” he said.

“Confusion should be eliminated about free services, eligibility criteria and institutions from where these could be obtained,” he added.

Chakraborty said he was slated to hold review meetings with different government departments from Friday.

“I will definitely take up the issue (of hidden costs for JSSK beneficiaries) with the state health department while chairing its review meeting on June 25,” he said.