Bhubaneswar: Despite rains, the 72nd Independence Day was celebrated Wednesday across Odisha with gaiety amid tight security with the state government launching a health welfare scheme aimed at benefiting 70 lakh families.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced the start of Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY), an universal health coverage scheme, in the state from today while unfurling the national flag at Mahatma Gandhi Road here during a drizzle.
Stating that the scheme would benefit 70 lakh families in the state, Patnaik said it would be implemented with the cooperation of everyone using the state’s money.
“Healthy Odisha – Happy Odisha. Let us continue our endeavour to build a prosperous and strong state,” he said at the
The state government had earlier made it clear that BSKY is not an insurance, but an assurance to the people for a better health service in which secondary and tertiary chashless health care assistance will be provided up to Rs 5 lakh per family per annum.
Describing peace, infrastructure development, social security and empowerment of people as essential for progress, the chief minister said the state must move further on the track of development.
“Therefore, I have been stressing on development of farmers, women and youth who are being given loans at 1 per cent interest,” he said.
Patnaik said the state government is focusing on the welfare of all sections of the society as part of its social security programmes, he said.
Undeterred by downpour triggered by a low pressure, people joined the celebrations with enthusiasm across the state. However, children were unable to participate in the events in view of adverse weather.
The government had asked the district collectors to ensure that children are kept away from the ceremonial parades in view of the IMD’s forecast of heavy rain and lightning.
Instruction was also given to avoid cultural and sports activities on the occasion.
All the ceremonial parades in the state were restricted to participation by the police and para military personnel only.
In view of a boycott call by Maoists in some areas of the state, an alert had been sounded and police force had been put on strict vigil particularly in districts such as Malkangiri, Rayagada, Koraput, Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Balangir and Gajapati.
Elaborate security arrangements were made for smooth and peaceful Independence Day celebrations across the state, Director General of Police R P Sharma said.