Talcher/New Delhi: Narendra Modi on Saturday brought to bear on Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik the weight of his own people to join the Ayushman Bharat Yojana, the Prime Minister’s grand medicare scheme that promises Rs 5 lakh as health insurance to 10 crore poor families of the country.

Speaking in Talcher after starting the process of revamping of a fertiliser unit, while PM Modi was critical of the pace of development of the State, he seemed to have deliberately held back when it came to discussing the performance of the chief minister. Perhaps, the prime minister left enough political margin for Patnaik in the NDA as general elections inch closer.

“We are heralding a scheme from Jharkhand from tomorrow. Under the Aysuhman Bharat Yojana, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) is being started. Under this, 10 crore poor households, which means 50 crore poor, will be given Rs 5 lakh health assurance annually in cases of grave health conditions,” Modi said.

“States that have got associated with this schemes are going to get the benefits of PMJAY. Now I ask you, should or should not the people of Odisha get these benefits? Should the Odisha government come forward or no? But, I don’t understand, why our Naveen Babu can’t understand,” Modi said, turning on Patnaik the democratic force of people’s will as the crowd cheered Modi in answer.

“When a disease visits the poor, he/she is plunged into the vicious circle of interest and indebtedness. I want to save these poor families. By way of you, I want to request our friend Naveen Babu to come forward and associate with the scheme for the welfare of the lakhs of poor in Odisha. I invite him,” Modi added.

“People of Odisha can avail of this scheme anywhere in India, even if one has to travel to Delhi for medical treatment. But I will not be able to help you if you do not associate with it. The state of healthcare facilities in Odisha is not a secret. The state of health centres, infant mortality and maternal mortality are statistics for everyone to see.”

The prime minister also told the people the various welfare schemes of the Centre and the report card of those schemes in Odisha. “In 2014, only 22% people in Odisha had gas connections, now this is 65%,” Modi said as he went on to enumerate the success of several other schemes in the state.  

While PM Modi thanked the people of Odisha for their support, he attacked previous regimes as he talked about the revamping of the Talcher fertiliser plant.

“I am twice happy as earlier, the process of Talcher fertiliser plant’s reclamation has begun. We are spending Rs 13,000crore on this project. I congratulate people of Talcher, of Odisha, especially the youth.

After the modernisation of this fertiliser plant, the entire region is sure to receive a new fillip of development. The present condition of the plant is the result of the failures of the past governments. Now this will signify the success if our government. Under previous regimes, so many fertiliser plants got shut. Once shut, they never revived. In 2000, the then government decided to revamp the Talcher plant, but the proposal remained only on paper.”

Modi promised the start of production in 36 months. “I will be back to inaugurate it,” he said, adding, “I can see that every new rally breaks the previous record. Today also I can see that you have broken all previous records. This big wave of people and this enthusiasm points to what Odhisha is thinking; it is an evidence of what is there in your minds.”