Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday hit out at those who have been criticising the efficacies of COVID-19 vaccines, saying that there should be no politics over public health.
Mr Shah launched ‘Ayushman CAPF’ in Guwahati to extend the benefit of the central health insurance programme to all the armed police forces in India and urged the personnel to get inoculated.
“There are some people who are spreading misinformation on vaccine. Come to another platform and let’s have a duel. But why are you creating doubt over people’s health and doing politics? There are other issues for that,” he said.
Mr Shah said the vaccines developed by Indian scientists are fully safe and the personnel from all forces will be vaccinated after health workers are covered.
“I appeal to all of you to go for the vaccine when your turn comes. Do not have any doubt over its efficacy. We’ve already launched the world’s biggest vaccination drive,” he said.
Mr Shah ceremoniously distributed the Ayushman CAPF health cards among some personnel from the seven Central Armed Police Forces here.
He said that the personnel of the CAPFs had three prime concerns — the existing health coverage was not comprehensive, there was no satisfaction regarding housing and long duty hours without leaves.
“Our government is addressing all three concerns. For the health issue, we’ve launched the Ayushman CAPF today. This will give health insurance to around 50 lakh people in 24,000 hospitals, including 14,000 private ones, across the country,” Mr Shah said.
By May 1, the Ayushman CAPF process will be completed by offering health cards to all the personnel of the seven Central police forces, he added.
The Union minister said that the government and authorities of forces are trying to increase the satisfaction ratio of the personnel to 55 per cent by 2022 from 36 per cent two years ago, and further take it to 65 per cent by 2024.
“We’ve completed the examination process for 50,000 recruitments. Now, we’ll start the process again to hire another 50,000 persons in the CAPFs. Our target is one hiring against one departure in five years. With this, everyone will be able to stay at home for 100 days in a year,” he added.
An MoU was signed between the National Health Authority (NHA) and Union Home Ministry in presence of Mr Shah, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai and state Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at the CRPF Group Centre in Guwahati.
Mr Shah said that launching the ambitious scheme on the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose is a matter of big satisfaction for him and the union government.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided that we’ll celebrate Netaji’s birthday as ‘Parakram Diwas’ every year. And today, we’re launching a new scheme for the ‘parakrami’ jawans of the CAPFs. We can’t have a better day than this,” he said.
Under the initiative, around 28 lakh personnel from Central Armed Police Force (CAPF), Assam Rifles and NSG and their families will be covered by ‘Ayushman Bharat: Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana’ (AB PM-JAY).
CRPF Director General AP Maheshwari expressed his gratitude for bringing the CAPFs under AB PM-JAY scheme.
The Union home minister also virtually inaugurated Sashastra Seema Bal’s (SSB) 168 quarters, a 10-bedded hospital and an administrative building located at different places of Assam.