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AAP’s plea on Farishtay scheme only to build narrative against LG, Health Secretary tells SC | Delhi News

Delhi Health Secretary SB Deepak has told the Supreme Court that the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) plea against the alleged stall of the Farishtay scheme is “only to build a narrative against the office of Lieutenant Governor (LG) VK Saxena”.

“The writ petition is unfounded, aims to malign the LG office, stems from the concealment of material facts, and has been filed without any cause of action… only to build up a narrative against the LG office,” read a 98-page response to the apex court.

In January, a bench of Justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta had sought a response from the LG on a plea by the AAP government, alleging that the Farishtay scheme, which extended cashless medical treatment for road accident victims, be re-operationalised.

Echoing the stand of the LG, the affidavit also stated that “if necessary, the LG will directly respond to the plea”. The plea also sought the release of pending bills and timely payments to private hospitals; and initiation of disciplinary action and suspension proceedings against “defaulting officials” whom it claimed were “responsible for deliberately orchestrating the de-operationalization of the scheme”.

Incidentally, Kumar is the same officer whom the AAP government had accused of playing a role in stalling the Farishtay scheme.

Festive sacrifice

The bench had also made observations that it would “impose exemplary costs if it came to light that the court had been taken for a ride in this political tussle”.

The affidavit further stated that the total number of beneficiaries under the Farishtay scheme in FY 2022-23 was at 3,698, while the scheme recorded 3,604 beneficiaries in seven months of FY 2023-24 (ie until October 31). Payments made to private hospitals in FY 2022-23, the affidavit stated, stood at approximately Rs 4.85 crore, and at over Rs 3.54 crore in FY 2023-24 (ie till October 31). “These figures, prima facie, neither indicate a halt in the Farishtay scheme nor do they support allegations of non-payment,” stated the affidavit.

The L-G’s response, meanwhile, has also underlined that the payment process under the Farishtay scheme was entirely within the power of the Delhi government, as per the office memorandum dated October 9, 2019.

Under the scheme, payments to private hospitals are made by Delhi Arogya Kosh (DAK), which is registered as a society. The state health minister, who is the DAK chairperson, receives grants from funds allocated in the budget, typically in three to four installations during a financial year.

“All the files of the DAK are submitted directly by the DG HS to the society chairman, ie the Hon’ble Minister; and there is no involvement of the Secretary or the Secretariat in this regard. It is again emphasized that the Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, GNCTD, is not involved in day-to-day functioning of DAK and all the files are sent directly to the minister who oversees the general functioning of the society,” the affidavit added .

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First uploaded on: 06-05-2024 at 05:46 IST