GANGTOK: Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay has defended the ambitious Su Swastha Yojana claiming, it had been ‘put on hold, but not scrapped’. The health insurance scheme for government employees was set to roll out from October 1, earlier this year. However, the initiative is yet to take off.

The scheme would provide a health cover of up to Rs 20 lakh for government employees and their dependents. In September, the government maintained that “56,280 beneficiaries have been enrolled under the scheme till date, which includes 21,062 primary memberships of government employees.” 

The initiative for regular government employees also included various PSUs and central government establishments on deputation.

On the final day of the Sikkim Legislative Assembly session, as part of the questions put forth by BJP legislators DT Lepcha and DR Thapa, CM Golay answered, “Some were interested in the Yojana and some were not, some were happy and some were not. In view of this, we kept the scheme on hold. We had notified on the deduction of the charges of the insurance scheme, but it was not implemented and no money was deducted.”

However, government employees have claimed that around Rs. 600 was deducted from their salaries for the scheme. Golay, who did not adrress this specific claim, stated, “We wanted our employees to first fully understand the benefits of Su Swastha Yojana. It would be beneficial especially for those suffering from health problems, or if their family members needed costly medical treatment. However, some grievances were made and we kept it on hold.”

The Chief Minister also steered clear from the controversial ‘Swadhin’ insurance company, which was to be a local liaison with commercial and private hospitals across the country. Questions have been raised after the ‘hold on Su Swastha Yojana’, on the legitimacy of a company, which appears to have been opened in 2020, with no prior work experience. 

Su-Swastha Yojana was to be a cashless health plan that would cover 400+ top tier hospitals for all routine and critical illnesses for 1+5 dependents to the employees of the Government of Sikkim. It offered Cashless Inpatient (IPD) medical treatment of up to Rs 10 lakh and up to Rs 20 lakh for critical illnesses, the highest coverage in India. In-Patient treatment covers hospitalisation expenses for all admissions related to medical and surgical treatments for a large number of illnesses. There was no referral procedure.

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