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Budget 2018: Worlds largest govt-funded health care programme

Budget 2018: Worlds largest govt-funded health care programme

to benefit 10 cr families

(Eds: Adding details, health ministry officials quote)

New Delhi, Feb 1 (PTI) The Centre today announced the worlds largest government-funded health care programme, aimed at benefiting 10 crore poor families by providing coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.

The National Health Protection Scheme, announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget for 2018-19, will cover approximately 50 crore people.

Jaitley announced two major initiatives -- the National Health Protection Scheme and the move to bring health care system closer to the homes through 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres, as part of the Ayushman Bharat programme aimed at making path breaking interventions to address health holistically, in the primary, secondary and tertiary care system.

The two "far-reaching" initiatives under Ayushman Bharat will build a New India 2022 and ensure enhanced productivity, well-being and avert wage loss and impoverishment, he said.

"These schemes will also generate lakhs of jobs, particularly for women. The government is steadily but surely progressing towards the goal of Universal Health Coverage," he said.

Presenting his fifth straight budget in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley said the government will set up 24 new government medical colleges and hospitals by upgrading existing district hospitals in the country.

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.

The budget allocation for the Health Ministry for 2018-19 is Rs 52,800.00 crore in comparison to last years allocation of Rs 47,352.51 crore, an increase of 5,448 crore or about 11.5 per cent. The revised allocation for 2017-2018 was Rs 51,550.85.

The allocation in the last budget had seen an increase of 27.76 per cent from 2016-17.

The allocation for the Department of Health Research for 2018-19 was raised to Rs 1,800.00 crore from the last budgets allocation of Rs 1,500.00 crore, an increase of Rs 300 crore.

The Finance Minister said that the estimated budgetary expenditure on health, education and social protection for 2018-19 is Rs 1.38 lakh crore against the estimated expenditure of Rs 1.22 lakh crore in 2017-18.

A top official of the health ministry said that an allocation of Rs 2,000 crore has been given to Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY) through which the the money for the National Health Protection Scheme will be initially channelised.

For strengthening the health system under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), an allocation of Rs 9,752.82 crore has been made.

Under the flexible pool for non communicable diseases, injury and trauma, an allocation of Rs 1,004.67 crore has been made.

While an allocation of Rs 452.25 crore has been made for the upgradation of state government medical colleges (PG seats) at the district hospitals, Rs 794.07 crore has been allocated for strengthening of government medical colleges (UG seats) and the central government health institutions.

Jaitley also committed Rs 1,200 crore for the National Health Policy, 2017, under which 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres will bring health care system closer to the homes of people.

The government also decided to allocate an additional Rs 600 crore to provide nutritional support to all tuberculosis patients at the rate of Rs 500 per 10-month cycle till the duration of the treatment.

Jaitley said that the budget is guided by the mission to strengthen agriculture, rural development, health, education, employment, MSME and infrastructure sectors.

After the budget, Health Minister J P Nadda tweeted, "I thank Hon PM @narendramodi ji & FM @arunjaitley ji for giving us a visionary budget with specific focus on Agriculture, employment generation, better healthcare and infrastructure development. #NewIndiaBudget".

"Modi Government has launched a flagship National Health Protection Scheme in #NewIndiaBudget to cover 10 crore poor & vulnerable families, this is approximately 50 crore beneficiaries by providing upto Rs 5 lakh per family per year for medical reimbursements. #Budget2018," he said. PTI TDS MIN ASK ASK