Letters to the editor

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Published: November 23, 2015 12:10:38 AM

Don’t scrap CGHS

Don’t scrap CGHS
This refers to the front-page report “A 23.5 % jump in babus’ salary to cost R1 lakh cr” (FE, November 20). One of the recommendation of the 7th Central Pay Commissions (SCPC) is to replace the existing Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) with a health insurance scheme for central government employees and pensioners. This recommendation should not be implemented, as the current CGHS scheme encompasses monthly medicines and various health tests, apart from hospitalisation. Insurance policies do not cover monthly medicines and tests—they cover only hospitalisation. Employees also pay a certain sum, of a few thousand rupees, to join the CGHS. There are scores of CGHS clinics in metros all over the country, and they employ pharmacists and doctors. A physician also visits a CGHS clinic once a week on a designated day and prescribes medicines and tests, and depending on his recommendations, employees get medicines and go for tests to hospitals recommended by the CGHS as these tests are subsidised and employees have to pay less. The current paper identification cards of CGHS beneficiaries are being replaced with smart cards. The CGHS is more useful for monthly medicines stocks. This recommendation should not have been given in the first place. How will the existing staff be accommodated if the CGHS were to be replaced? Who will pay the premium? What about monthly medicines? It will be in the interest of central government employees to avail benefits under the current CGHS. Is the insurance lobby behind this recommendation? The premium to be collected by the employees will certainly fill up the coffers of insurance companies.
Deendayal M Lulla

Focus on usable toilets
As we celebrated World Toilet Day on November 19, one wondered about the Narendra Modi-led government’s initiative of constructing more and more toilets, under the Swachh Bharat programme. The effort is, beyond a shred of doubt, laudable, but merely constructing more and more toilets is not going to be worthwhile if these are not maintained in usable condition and contribute only to statistical jugglery. It is important to keep the existing toilets clean and usable, with round-the-clock availability of clean water and regular maintenance by cleaning staff. Also, through hygiene education and regular awareness campaigns, people’s behaviour should be changed, which will make them use toilets instead of relieving themselves in public places. Special focus must be laid on spreading awareness regarding the evils of open defecation. This will help India achieve its goal of becoming open-defecation-free (ODF) by 2019. It will also mean a healthier India—both in terms of its people and its environment.
TS Karthik

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