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RSBY to give way to NHPS; to cover 10 cr poor families with Rs

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: February 1, 2018  | 19:42 IST

5 lakh medical cover (Eds: Changing word in headline)

New Delhi, Feb 1 (PTI) The worlds biggest health cover plan announced in the budget will be a revamp of the UPA governments Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) by raising the cover up to Rs 5 lakh and the government has made allocation of Rs 2,000 crore for 2018-19.

Touted as ModiCare, the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Budget 2018-19 today will cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families.

"We are all aware that lakhs of families in our country have to borrow or sell assets to receive indoor treatment in hospitals. Government is seriously concerned about such impoverishment of poor and vulnerable families. Present RSBY provide annual coverage of only Rs 30,000 to poor families," he said in the budget speech.

Several state governments have also implemented supplemented health protection schemes providing varying coverage, he said in the Lok Sabha.

Giving details, Expenditure Secretary A N Jha said the scheme will be cashless and current RSBY scheme will be changed into this new scheme.

"Health protection insurance scheme which has been announced today will cover about 10 crore households and giving a maximum coverage of 5 lakh per person. So total impact will be for about 50 crore people," he said.

"We have provided Rs 2,000 crore provisionally in the Budget 2018-19 and once the contours of the scheme takes shape and details are worked out further provisioning will be done...Various models are being considered whether it would run on trust model or insurance model," he said.

Without giving the exact date for launch of this scheme, Jha said Rs 2,000 crore would be available with the government from April 1, 2018.

It is to be noted that RSBY was launched in early 2008 and was initially designed to target only the Below Poverty Line (BPL) households, but was expanded to cover other defined categories of unorganised workers like construction, porter, taxi drivers, Beedi workers and domestic workers.

The government allocated Rs 470.52 crore for implementation of RSBY for 2017-18.

Noting that only a "swasth Bharat" (healthy India) can be a "samriddha Bharat" (prosperous India), Jaitley said India cannot realise its demographic dividend without its citizens being healthy.

Jaitley said his government has decided to take health protection to a "more aspirational level" and observed that several state governments have also implemented or supplemented health protection schemes with varying coverage plans. PTI JD DP ANZ MR

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