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Saturday, September 8, 2007

Netas stay healthy, you paid for it

Rakesh Prakash | TNN Bangalore: For these MLAs, health is truly wealth. Unlike the poor in their constituencies, they get the best medical treatment without spending even a single rupee from their wallet.
Of the 225 members in the Karnataka assembly, a total of 108 MLAs have claimed medical allowances to the tune of Rs 82.88 lakh in just two years. Their principal sponsors: the taxpayers.
According to the documents procured by The Times of India under the RTI Act, some of those who have claimed medical reimbursements are ministers with a cash-rich background. While industries minister Katta Subramanya Naidu, whose monthly personal income is Rs 5.04 lakh, has claimed a medical reimbursement of Rs 1.35 lakh from the government, forest minister C Chennigappa has claimed Rs 2.9 lakh, despite his personal income being a whopping Rs 10 lakh per month. In the list are 11 other ministers. “These leaders are quite rich and can afford to undergo medical treatment at their own cost. That way, they will be saving public money which can be used to help the poor. Unfortunately, they are not that magnanimous,’’ an official rued.
According to the Karnataka Legislature (Members Medical Attendance) (Amended) Rules-1997, MLAs and members of their families are entitled to free medical treatment in all government hospitals and 53 private hospitals across the state. In Bangalore, they can get treatment in 31 private hospitals. They can also undergo treatment at five private super-speciality hospitals in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Vellore.
A scrutiny of the medical reimbursement claims made so far throws up some interesting facts. First, the medical expenditure incurred by the MLAs has been on the rise — from Rs 20.15 lakh in 2004 to Rs 27.44 lakh in 2005 and Rs 35.28 lakh in 2006. Second, a majority of the claims have been made by young MLAs and not the veterans who are visibly weak. Third, while some MLAs have claimed reimbursements on an annual basis, those like R Ashok and Jagadish Shettar have stopped it after becoming ministers.
On the veracity of the claims, a secretariat official chose not to comment. “There is no ceiling on MLAs’ medical expenses. We just receive the bills and refund the amount, we don’t even get to know for what disease the amount has been spent,’’ he said. In case of claims for refund of expenses incurred on account of purchase of special medicines, the MLAs have to produce a essentiality certificate countersigned by a medical officer authorised by the directorate of health services. With the government recently extending the medical allowances to the family members of former MLAs too, there is a need to streamline the system of refunding claims, the official said.

MLAs are NOT entitled to ...

l Buy spectacles or get dentures fixed. They can only get treatment and prescription from dentists and opticians.

l Get dentures made of special material like gold or silver.

l Free treatment at any government hospital for venereal diseases or any disease brought about by their intemperance. In other words, they will not receive treatment for AIDS at government cost.

l Claim refund for food and articles, like tonics, toiletries and disinfectants that do not have therapeutic value.

Publication: Times Of India Bangalore; Date:2007 Sep 03; Section:Times City; Page Number 6

1 comment:

Melissa Matthews said...

Hey there hi,

Your post is nice, thanks for sharing such an informative data with us. Keep posting ahead in future.

God Bless

- Hospitals in Mumbai