The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday warned the Punjab government against converting Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWC), funded by the Centre into Mohalla Clinics.
The Ministry in its 6 February letter to the Punjab Government alleged violation of the provisions of clause 13 of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the state and the Centre. “The state has violated the provisions of Clause 10.3 and 10.10 of MoU and have stopped implementing the AB-HWC component of NHM, therefore releases to the State under NHM do not
appear feasible as per provisions of Clause 13 of the MoU,” Additional Secretary and Mission Director of National Health Mission (NHM), Roli Singh stated in the letter.
Singh said, “By not adhering to the provisions of MoU and not following the guidelines issued for AB-HWCs and developing the branding of these facilities as Aam Aadmi Clinics, state has vitiated the spirit of the scheme of Ayushman Bharat- Health and Wellness Centres and defaulted on its commitment”.
Meanwhile, an official source from the Health Ministry said that any deviations from the MoU agreement would lead to the stoppage of funds from the Centre. “The Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre (HWC) is formulated with 60:40 ratio of Centre and state, if a state changes the scheme during implementation, then the money going from centre will stop,” a top Health Ministry official said.
Notably, in the letter 2022-23, a Health Ministry official said that Punjab has been given approval of Rs 1114.57Cr under the NHM in the ratio of 60:40 (Central share: State share). An amount of Rs 438.46 Crore has already been released so far towards the Central share for the current year to the State.
“Further the State has been provided with an approval of Rs 401.12 crore under XV-FC and Rs 145.62 Cr under PM-ABHIM [PM- Ayushman Bharat Health lnfrastructure Mission] for the financial year 2O22-23,” the source said.
It further added that Telangana and Andhra Pradesh too have deviated from implementing the scheme, but later corrected it.
The total number of Health and Wellness Centres in Punjab is 3029. Notbaly, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya previously told the Lok Sabha during parliament session that the states have been violating the MoU signed with the Centre.
Mandaviya also said that the funds were given to the states for upgrading the facilities and infrastructure at Health and wellness centres adding that he had written a letter to the Andhra Pradesh and Punjab government stating, “Health infrastructure has been created in Punjab with the utilisation of the funds that are provided by the central government for infrastructure under the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness scheme but the state government has changed the name of these facilities as Aam Admi Mohalla Clinic.”
“If they won’t follow the norms of this scheme under MoU and shut down Health and Wellness Centre scheme, then the central government will not be left with any other option. I want that state and Central govt should work together for the welfare of public without any politics,” the Health Minister added in his response to a question raised by Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) MP K Raghu Rama Krishna Raju in the Parliament.