Staff, pensioners divided over state health scheme
Deccan Chronicle.| L Venkat Ram Reddy
Private and corporate hospitals are refusing to admit patients having EHS card citing arrears by the state government
The TNGO leaders recently met finance minister T. Harish Rao and submitted a letter expressing their willingness to voluntarily contribute 2 per cent of their basic pay to the scheme. Representational image/DC
HYDERABAD: The state government’s free unlimited cashless employees’ health scheme (EHS) seems to have divided employees’ and pensioners’ unions after a few associations voluntarily offered to contribute 0.5 per cent to 2 per cent of their basic pay to the government to run the scheme effectively.
Employees unions such as Telangana Non-Gazetted Officers’ Association (TNGO), Telangana Udyogula Sangham (TUS) and Telangana Pensioners Association offered to contribute to the scheme recently as the state government is struggling to mobilise funds for this scheme. The state government launched this scheme in November 2014 for its employees and pensioners with 100 per cent contribution from the state exchequer. There is no need for employees and pensioners to provide any contribution to avail this scheme. However, over the years, the scheme is facing hurdles due to fund crunch.
The government is not able to release funds in time due to which the arrears have accumulated. Private and corporate hospitals are refusing to admit patients having EHS card citing arrears by the state government.
Against this backdrop, the TNGO leaders recently met finance minister T. Harish Rao and submitted a letter expressing their willingness to voluntarily contribute 2 per cent of their basic pay to the scheme. They urged the finance minister to accept the offer and ensure that all private and corporate hospitals admit patients with EHS cards without fail. This offer triggered protests from pensioners associations and teachers associations who questioned how TNGO could make this offer unilaterally given that the Pay Revision Commission had recommended just one per cent contribution from employees.
The pensioners associations made it clear that they were willing to offer only 0.5 per cent as they received only half of their salary towards pension. Meanwhile, the TUS offered to contribute just one per cent of the basic pay. The teachers unions, on the other hand, categorically stated that they would not contribute anything and the government should implement EHS with 100 per cent own funds as promised by the Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao in 2014.
They came down heavily on leaders of a few unions for taking unilateral decisions without holding discussions in general body meetings. They said teachers comprised half of the total state government employees and questioned how other employees unions took such decisions on contributions without consulting them.