The RSBY Programme, has been there with us from the last 8 months. The cycle for the Palamu district finishes by 30th November, 2012. Which means that we'll have to wait for re-enrollment to treat patients from December 2012. However, patients from Garhwa and Latehar would continue to benefit.
Yesterday, we had a very well off patient come to us and waste quite a lot of our time demanding that we admit under RSBY. I had an issue as they were insisting on having a private room. They started off by bugging the nurses. Then, they demand that they see me. I happened to see the family while doing my night rounds. They started to boss about saying who they were and what all connections they had. It was nauseating.
I could only think of some of my patients whom I had seen earlier in the day who were very poor, but did not have a RSBY Card. But, here was one patient with bystanders sporting branded jeans, leather jackets, gold chains on the neck . . . they were claiming that the patient was Below Poverty Line . . .
The next day, the group was back. This time, they targeted the Nursing Superintendent. But, to no avail. They came again back to me. They wanted us to adjust. I stood my line. Ultimately, they got the RSBY facility cancelled for their patient and got her admitted in the private ward.
I thought of doing a small exercise. There was about 40 patients in the hospital at that point of time. To my horror, I found out that 5 out of 9 patients who were in the private ward possessed the RSBY Card (and of course the BPL card) whereas only one out of the rest of the patients who were admitted in General Ward had the Smart Card. (we did not give any benefit to the patients in private ward)
So much for social equity.
We've raised this issue in many forums. But to no avail. I'm not sure whom to blame. Everyone says that things will become fine from the next time onwards. However, I'm doubtful.
We see this phenomenon of well off families possessing social benefit schemes for the poor very often. It is not very difficult to explain. Most of the time, when the people for enrolment arrive, it is usually the empowered people in the village who benefit. The people with no voice are left behind.
Well, the story does not finish here. One of the relatives of this patient commented to one of the nurses that they shall teach us a lesson. They did not show any outward emotions . . . later, they were quite good to me.
I got few call couple of hours later from couple of people who told me that they were from the press. They asked me about details of the RSBY programme. And how we were running it.
However, there was no news report today morning. Maybe, they realised that it was futile to put any sort of report on this.
Unfortunate, but true. How the high and well off retain their 'high status' in the society at the expense of the poor and the marginalised.
Today, I happened to read the story about poor working conditions of factory workers who died in a fire in Bangladesh. Factories which manufacture apparels for the big brands. These big brands would do all possible to keep their names a secret. Another type of exploitation of the poor so that others can remain rich.
From the last few years in the heartland of mines and factories, I can tell you that almost all of the success stories of shining India are at the expense of the poor and marginalised of this country.
The exploitation of government welfare programmes by the rich at the expense of the real needy are just the tip of the iceberg . . . And I'm sure that I would have enough people who would share similar stories. But, the question remains on whether anybody is interested in changing this.