On receiving multiple complaints that the scrapping of the Karunya Benevolent Fund scheme by the Kerala government was causing trouble for scores of patients, the state Human Rights Commission has asked an explanation from the government. The commission has sought a report from Chief Secretary of the state as to the why the health scheme, meant for underprivileged people, was scrapped.
The Karunya Benevolent Fund Scheme provided financial aid for the poor suffering from ailments like cancer, haemophilia, kidney and heart diseases. The funds for the scheme were being raised through the Karunya lottery of the state government. According to reports, the state government recently stopped this scheme to make a single health coverage scheme in line with the Centreās Ayushman Bharat health scheme. However, scrapping Karunya scheme has caused confusion, with reports stating that patients under Karunya are being denied treatment.
State Human Rights Commission member K Mohan Kumar has sought an explanation after receiving complaints that it was very difficult for patients with serious ailments, like cancer, to go on without treatment, reports News18.
The complaints also pointed out that the Karunya Benevolent Fund was not posing any financial difficulties for the state government as the funds were met solely from the profits of the Karunya lottery. Health Minister KK Shailaja on Saturday had said that the department would intervene if patients were denied treatment. She had also said that the problem was only because of the change from one scheme to another and that health care institutions will be intimated that nobody should be denied treatment because of this.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala has also voiced his opposition to the scrapping of the scheme. Chennithala has submitted a letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan asking the government to reconsider the decision to scrap the Karunya scheme. He said that the Centreās health insurance policy will only be in place by August. Chennithala also said that it is a challenge for people that the government has scrapped the Karunya scheme in July itself, reports Asianet News.