India’s Ambitious Health Care Protection Scheme Gets Cabinet Nod
The Cabinet today approved the launch of the Ayushman Bharat - National Healthcare Protection Mission, the country’s ambitious health insurance scheme announced in the Union Budget that aims to cover more than 10 crore underprivileged families.
The programme will subsume the two on-going centrally sponsored schemes – the Rashtriya Bima Yojana and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme, according to a statement by the Press Information Bureau. It aims to provide a benefit cover of Rs 5 lakh per family ever year.
In his Union Budget speech Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had called this the “world's largest government-funded healthcare initiative”. He’d added that enough resources would be allocated to the plan, without specifying a number. States will bear 40 percent of the costs, he had said.
Budget documents show that the expenditure on health for 2018-19 is pegged at Rs 54,667 crore compared to a revised estimate of Rs 53,198 crore in 2017-18.
Indians pay about 62 percent of the health expenditure out of their pocket, World Bank data shows. That’s much higher than peers in countries like China (32 percent) and Brazil (25.5 percent). This in a nation where about one-fifth of the 120-crore population lives below the international poverty line of $1.9 a day, according to a World Bank report. A health cover will protect vulnerable families from falling back below the poverty line in case of hospitalisation, the report added.
The AB-NHPM will have a major impact on reduction of out of pocket expenditure of families, the PIB statement said. It covers almost all secondary and many tertiary hospitalisations, except a negative list, the statement added.
Here are other decisions taken by the Union Cabinet today:
- Approved moving of official amendments in the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016
- 18 new Indian Missions to be opened in Africa over a four year period from 2018-2021
- Approved extension of the term of the Commission constituted to examine the issue of Sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes in the Central List
- India Development Foundation of Overseas Indians to be closed
- Approved revision of Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement between India and Qatar
- Apprised the MoU on cooperation in Renewable Energy between India and Guyana
- Approved formation of state-owned C Corporation of Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd. (TCIL) in USA
- North East Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS), 2017 approved with a financial outlay of Rs 3,000 crore
- Approved continuation of the Prime Minister’s Development Package for Jammu & Kashmir 2015
- Approved Central Sector "Integrated Scheme for Development of Silk Industry"
- Approved further public offer of ITI Ltd. to achieve 25 percent minimum public shareholding as required by the Securities and Exchange Board of India
- Approved continuation of Centrally Sponsored Scheme Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan till March 2020
- Approved revision of Energy Norms under New Urea Policy