Free water with a dose of deshbhakti: States unveil initiatives on I-Day

Red Fort
Indian national flag flutters atop the historic Red Fort | File Photo: PTI

As India marked its 75th Independence Day on Sunday, chief ministers of several states announced initiatives for their citizens to mark the occasion. Here is a quick summary of what various leaders have promised to their citizenry.

Odisha

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Naveen Patnaik launched a smart card under the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana | File Photo: PTI

In a boost to the state’s efforts to provide healthcare facilities to all, Naveen Patnaik launched a smart card under the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana. The initiative is expected to benefit around 3.5 crore people.

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Through the smart card, all beneficiaries can avail treatment up to 5 lakh per annum. Women, however, can avail benefits up to 10 lakh every year. At present 71.69 lakh families are covered under the health assurance scheme. An additional 20.8 lakh families were added on Sunday.

“The initiative will transform the health service delivery system and create history in the health sector of the country,” the CM said.

“It is disheartening to hear the news of people selling land and jewellery or being forced to stop sending their children to schools to cover medical expenses. As such, I decided that this type of distress must go. People should get hassle-free quality treatment at the best available healthcare facilities. So, the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana has been redesigned to provide smart health cards to people that will work as debit cards till a certain amount,” he said.

Also read: Top 10 takeaways from Modi’s 75th Independence Day speech

Around 200 hospitals are included in the scheme, with nearly 17 outside Odisha for residents living there. Each beneficiary household will have two chip cards with the names of the beneficiary and a 12-digit-unique number. The card will remain valid for a year with the maximum benefit limit. It will be auto-renewed after a year.

Goa

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Pramod Sawant promised free tap water from September | File Photo: PTI

Pramod Sawant announced that the state would provide free tap water to all residents from September this year. While delivering his Independence Day speech, Sawant said residents would get 16,000 litres of water free of cost per month. The announcement came days after Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal promised free electricity to Goans if voted to power in the next assembly election.

Punjab

The Punjab CM vowed to protect the state from Pakistan’s ‘nefarious designs’ | Photo: Twitter/Amarinder Singh

Amarinder Singh vowed to protect the state against the “nefarious designs” of Pakistan. “We want peace but will not tolerate any aggression or attack on our territory,” he said after unfurling the tricolour in Amritsar. “We will deal with them squarely. Any threat to Punjab will be a danger to our entire nation.” Singh also pledged to continue fighting with the farmers for the repeal of the Centre’s farm laws. The CM said he will not let the sacrifices of those who lost their lives in this struggle go in vain. “The fight against these black laws is not political.”

Delhi

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Arvind Kejriwal wants schoolchildren to learn deshbhakti | File Photo

The state has emerged as a model of governance, Arvind Kejriwal said announcing the launch of his deshbhakti curriculum in government schools from September 27 and yoga classes in residential areas from October 2. In his address at the Delhi Secretariat, the CM paid homage to freedom fighters as well as to doctors, nurses and paramedics who lost their lives in the pandemic.

“The deshbhakti curriculum will help realise the dreams of our freedom fighters and the celebration of Independence Day will cease to be symbolic in schools but will now have a substantive meaning,” he said.

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