New Delhi: The RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch has cautioned the government against engaging foreign insurance companies for providing health coverage to the poor under a flagship programme announced in the Union budget.

SJM co-convenor Ashwani Mahajan said it was heartening to note that the government had announced a health protection scheme, which will reach out to 50 crore people by offering up to Rs 5 lakh cover for illnesses.

“However, SJM would like to caution the government that while implementing this scheme, foreign insurance companies should not be engaged so that valuable resources of the country are retained in India only,” he said in a statement.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the world’s largest government-funded health care programme in his budget speech on Thursday. The programme is aimed at benefiting 10 crore poor families by providing coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.

Welcoming the budget for its focus on the rural economy, employment and welfare of poor, the SJM said it has long been demanding minimum support price (MSP) at not less than cost plus 50% to make agricultural activities remunerative for farmers.

The government’s intent to offer this to farmers is a welcome step, Mahajan added.

He also appreciated the encouragement given to the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector in the budget.

PTI