THE Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Relief Fund has disbursed Rs 553.92 crore to 56,318 needy people for medical requirements since 2014, when the Devendra Fadnavis Government took over. The figure for the last 10 months alone is Rs 106 crore disbursed to 10,582 people, a senior official said. In a statement issued on Saturday, Fadnavis said, “The State Government offers financial help to patients through Ayushman Bharat and Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana. But those who cannot avail these two schemes usually get help from Chief Minister’s relief fund.” Fadnavis said total amount disbursed between 2009-14, when a Congress-NCP Government was in power, was Rs 40.56 crore to 16,000 needy people. “Our Government disbursed monetary help to not only more people, but also raised the amount of financial help from Rs 25,000 initially to Rs one lakh and further to Rs three lakh,” he said.
When contacted, a senior official working in the Chief Minister’s Office said there was no dearth of money in the CMRF to help needy people. “The present Government has incorporated a few more categories to the financial assistance scheme. Apart from heart surgeries and cancer, help can also be availed for liver, heart and bone marrow transplants,” the official said. On Friday, Mission Muskan, a joint initiative of the Rotary International and Chief Minister Medical Assistance Cell organised a fund-raiser at the Bombay Stock Exchange, after which a cheque of Rs 3 crore was handed over for the CMRF to Amruta Fadnavis, the Chief Minister’s wife.
Suresh Chokhani, Mission Muskan chairperson, said apart from the Rs 3 crore that was handed over, another Rs 7 crore will soon be deposited in the CMRF. Rajiv Singal, a trustee of Manav Kalyan Kendra which runs a few charitable hospitals in the city, appreciated the efforts of the Fadnavis Government, adding that a request made by him for help for a child’s surgery last month was acted upon immediately.