New Delhi: As the war of words continues over the implementation of Ayushman Bharat scheme in Delhi, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday debunked Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s claims on the state government’s health scheme, saying that the scheme is still in the planning stage.In response to the AAP chief’s letter to the Union Health Minister, where Kejriwal had said that the Delhi government’s health scheme is “ten times bigger and comprehensive” than Centre’s flagship Ayushman Bharat programme, Vardhan wrote a letter to the Delhi CM inviting him to work together with the Centre for the “larger good” of people of Delhi. Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal NagarIn the letter, Vardhan expressed his anguish over Delhi CM’s letter that was released on social media and said that his response shows that he is least interested in the welfare of the people of Delhi. The claim that the Delhi government is implementing free health care and, therefore, need not implement Ayushman Bharat is “baseless”, the Union Health Minister stated in his letter. “Be part of the historical health sector revolution that has been visualised by our Prime Minister Narendra Modiji. Ayushman Bharat is the world’s most ambitious and largest free government healthcare programme. Let us join to celebrate each milestone in the journey towards New India,” Vardhan said. Also Read – Two persons arrested for killing manager of Muthoot FinanceRefuting the statements of the Kejriwal, Vardhan further stated that while all the states can claim to be providing free health care through government hospitals, in reality, citizens still have to spend a lot from their pocket to get the so-called ‘free treatment’. The Union Minister further added that the proposed scheme of the Delhi government can be linked with Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (PM-JAY) for enhanced cover for the poor and vulnerable population of Delhi as they will not get ready access to private hospitals but will also be able to get benefits across the country. “Since you are anyway providing OPD cover through your proposed scheme, linking with PM-JAY for in-patient cover will be a boon for the poor and vulnerable population of Delhi as they will not only get ready access to private hospitals but will also be able to get benefits across the country. You can even expand PM-JAY to cover more beneficiaries as has been done by many other states,” he said.
Canadian stocks were higher Tuesday after emerging market worries helped spark a series of sharp losses.The S&P/TSX composite index ran ahead 87.39 points to 13,669.68 as investors also looked to a major deal in the financial sector.Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO) is offering to buy U.K.-based investment manager F&C Asset Management PLC in a cash deal valued at $1.3 billion. BMO shares dipped 56 cents to $69.90.The Canadian dollar was lower after closing at a 4 1/2 year low on Monday, down 0.44 of a cent to 89.55 cents US.U.S. indexes were higher as traders shrugged off a surprisingly weak durable goods orders report for December and concentrated on other data showing U.S. consumer confidence has reached its highest point since August on the strength of a brighter view of the job market and business conditions.The U.S. Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rose to 80.7 this month from a December reading of 77.5.The Dow Jones industrials were up 80.91 points to 15,918.79, the Nasdaq composite index moved up 11.74 points to 4,095.35 while the S&P 500 index rose 10.19 points to 1,791.75.Markets have been severely buffeted over the last few sessions on concerns about emerging markets, including slowing growth in China, the world’s second biggest economy.Investors have also been jittery because of currency turmoil involving countries such as the Turkish lira, the Russian ruble and the Indian rupee as investors wonder how the Federal Reserve’s policy to reduce its monetary stimulus impacts on them.“What’s fearful is that currency instability often leads to economic and stock instability,” observed John Stephenson, portfolio manager at First Asset Funds.The Fed’s massive bond purchases over the last few years has resulted in a stream of cheap money into those markets. But now the central bank is cutting back on those asset purchases.The Fed makes its next interest rate announcement Wednesday and markets widely expect it to further pare its bond purchases by another US$10 billion a month to $65 billion.At the same time, analysts have suggested that North American stock markets were vulnerable to a correction after Fed monetary easing helped underpin a strong rally on many equity markets last year that left the S&P 500 alone up about 30 per cent for 2013.“Investors have said we had some dodgy data, we had a selloff, the market has come off a bit, it’s down for the year (by over four per cent),” added Stephenson.“We’ve had a correction, I don’t see us going down ten per cent, and three, four per cent, that’s a pretty healthy correction and it’s time to start looking to buy.”All TSX sectors were higher with gains paced by a 2.4 per cent rise in the base metals sector while March copper on the Nymex was unchanged at US$3.26 a pound. Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) was up 75 cents to C$27.63.First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM) says it expects its Cobre Panama project will cost about US$6.4 billion, up from an earlier estimate of US$6.2 billion. But it added the mine will produce about 320,000 tonnes of copper annually over the life of the mine, up about 20 per cent and First Quantum shares gained 38 cents to $20.22.February bullion declined $11.10 to US$1,252.30 an ounce and the gold sector moved up 1.66 per cent. Primero Mining (TSX:P) ran up 21 cents to C$6.10 while Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX) rose 39 cents to $21.The tech sector rose 1.5 per cent with BlackBerry (TSX:BB) ahead 32 cents to $11.16 as the company said that it’s making several changes to its BlackBerry 10 smartphone operating system, including a revised incoming call screen.Oil prices recovered after two days of steep losses with the March crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange up $1.76 to US$97.48 a barrel. The energy sector rose almost 0.7 per cent and Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) advanced 65 cents to C$36.02.Financials also lifted the TSX as Sun Life Financial (TSX:SLF) moved up 59 cents to $36.94.In earnings news, automaker Ford earned $3 billion, or 74 cents per share, in the final quarter of 2013, but that was largely because of a one-time tax gain. Excluding the gain, net income was 31 cents per share, topping analysts’ forecast of 27 cents. Fourth-quarter revenue rose 3.5 per cent to $37.6 billion and its shares inched one cent higher to $15.72.Apple shares were down 7.25 per cent to US$510.57 even as the company reported its best quarter, hitting new quarterly highs for the sales of its most popular products. But it also delivered a revenue forecast that fell below analysts’ predictions for the current quarter.Overseas, London’s FTSE 100 index advanced 0.49 per cent, Frankfurt’s DAX rose 0.67 per cent while the Paris CAC 40 was up 1.2 per cent.