Maharashtra govt extends health insurance scheme to Belagavi, 865 border villages

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The insurance scheme is extended only the Marathi-speaking people in Karnataka.

BELAGAVI: The Maharashtra government has quietly extended its Mahatma Phule medical insurance scheme to residents of the 865 border villages in Karnataka even as the state government has turned a blind eye. Pro-Kannnada groups have questioned the silence of the Congress government in Karnataka to the neighbouring state’s provocation.

The Maharashtra government has allocated Rs 34 crore for the health insurance scheme in Karnataka villages. Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who entered politics on the back of the border agitation, had last year announced the controversial decision, which is being seen by many as a blow to federalism in the country.

The MES will certify if a person is from a Marathi-speaking family.

Not only the villages, the Maharashtra government has also brought the scheme to Belagavi and empanelled KLE Hospital and Arihant Hospital under the Mahatma Phule scheme. However, the scheme is available to only the Marathi-speaking population duly certified by the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES). The scheme offers health insurance cover up to Rs 5 lakh for beneficiaries.

By enlisting a huge number of Marathi-speaking population in the 865 villages, the neighbouring state plans to strengthen its claim on Karnataka territories, many feel. Kannada activists point out that the Karnataka government has not appointed a minister in charge of the border areas in the last five years.

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