Stop linking rapes with politics: Naidu; Cashless treatment: Atal-Amrit Abhiyan launched in Assam

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, April 18: Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, while speaking against linking rapes with politics, has said a new legislation alone will not stem instances of violence against women, but political will along with a change in the mindset of men is necessary to end such crimes.

“This country, even after 70 years of Independence, is facing such problems. It is unfortunate that there are cases of atrocities against women in different parts of the country. We get disturbed as and when the incidents happen and forget about them later,” Naidu said after launching the Assam government’s new health assurance scheme – ‘Atal Amrit Abhiyan’ – in Guwahati on Wednesday.

The Vice President’s remark comes at a time when people across the country are protesting against the rape incidents in Kathua of Jammu and Kashmir and Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh.

“Merely bringing a bill is not enough. What is required is not a bill (alone), but political will, administrative skill to kill the social evil…There is a need for a change of mindset of men,” Naidu said.

The state and the central governments should implement the laws strictly to prevent such “heinous crimes”, he opined.

The Vice President also voiced his concern over discriminations among people on the basis of caste and religion.

“(In) this great civilisation, you discriminate people on the basis of religion or caste. And you don’t allow a person to come to temple? Irrespective of the differences, India is one. North or South, East or West, India is the best,” he said.

It is necessary for the people to preserve the culture and heritage of the country under all circumstances, Naidu said.

“Religion is worship, culture is way of life. You have different religions, no problem. But culture is one. You may be Hindu, Muslim, Christian, but the culture is one and it is Indian culture. That has to be respected by all. Plurality is the beauty of the country,” he explained.

Without naming anyone, he said some people are trying to “bring a bad name to the country” by raking up controversies.

Naidu also advocated for bridging the health care gap between city and rural areas. He also advocated for creating more health care infrastructure in rural areas and medical colleges in villages.

“Preference must be given for PG admission to those students after working in rural areas. The Infant Mortality Rate which is 44 in Assam as against national average of 37,” Naidu asked the state government to go for more interventional work to reduce the gap.

Atal-Amrit Abhiyan is a comprehensive coverage for six commonly prevalent and high cost diseases involving 438 procedures under which every individual of every eligible family per annum will be entitled to financial benefits of Rs 2 lakh.

Naidu said that according to WHO survey half of the people of the world cannot obtain quality health care facilities and 7 per cent of the people of the country run out of money because of emergency health situations.

Under such circumstances launching of Atal-Amrit Abhiyan for the people belonging to BPL and APL is a noble endeavour for making health care facilities within the reach of everybody. He also said that if the scheme is implemented in letter and spirit people of the state would acknowledge the government’s endeavour forever.

Vice President Naidu also said that Atal-Amrit Abhiyan would lead to creation of equitable access to affordable and accountable health care services with government being the enabler and guarantor and the fact that 92 per cent of the people of Assam have been brought under the purview of the scheme is indeed a testimony of the government’s keen inclination in providing universal health care facilities.

Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi while speaking on the occasion termed the day as historic which helped the state to emerge as the largest health insurance system of the world. He also said that the future of a country depends on the quality of health, its citizens enjoy.

In his address, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal gave a snapshot of different welfare schemes of the government. He also sought people’s cooperation for the successful implementation of Atal-Amrit Abhiyan.

Speaking on the occasion, health and family welfare minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that for a paradigm shift of the health care delivery system in the state the state government would also launch a health scheme Samartha where in 25 birth related defects can be corrected through surgical procedures. The scheme is in advanced stage of its implementation, he said and added that the state government has tied up with Tata Trust where 19 cancer hospitals would be set up in Assam.

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