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Jaitley's maiden Budget likely to focus on health care

Last updated on: June 25, 2014 14:13 IST

Jaitley's maiden Budget likely to focus on health care

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Archis Mohan in New Delhi

The Union Budget is likely to announce the first of the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance government’s social welfare schemes for the health sector - the National Health Assurance Mission.

The programme will provide universal health care and offer comprehensive health insurance for the poor.

The Budget could also, sources say, propose the government’s mission-mode approach towards a ‘mosquito-free India’, addressing malnourishment and increasing budgetary spend on the health sector.

The NDA government has already committed itself to setting up an All India Institute of Medical Sciences in each state.

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Image: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Photographs: PIB

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The National Health Assurance Mission is said to be close to Prime Minister Modi’s heart.

He has spoken frequently about how diseases debilitate the finances of poor households much more than those of well-off households.

He has also said how the country should focus on wellness rather than sickness and the need to create awareness among people on health issues.

The programme will aim to fulfil all these objectives.

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Image: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Photographs: Reuters

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Jaitley's maiden Budget likely to focus on health care

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The Budget, through the health assurance mission, will try to deliver on Modi’s and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s election promise of a holistic healthcare system that integrates indigenous health systems like Ayurveda and is universally accessible, affordable and effective.

The BJP manifesto had promised such a mission “with a clear mandate to provide universal health care that is not only accessible and affordable but also effective, and reduces the OOP (out-of-pocket) spending for the common man”.

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Photographs: Illustration by Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

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The mission will borrow from Modi’s experiences as chief minister of Gujarat and the existing and new health schemes will be brought under this programme.

Some of the new steps proposed will try to replicate the success of some of Gujarat’s health schemes like the Chiranjeevi Yojana and Mukhyamantri Amrutam Yojana.

Chiranjeevi Yojana, launched in 2006 in the state, aimed to reduce the infant mortality rate by encouraging women to deliver in hospitals.

It was assisted by the ‘108’ ambulance service, which the new government wants to universalise in India.

Mukhyamantri Amrutam Yojana was launched in 2012 to provide an insurance cover of up to Rs 200,000 for critical illnesses to those below the poverty line.

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Photographs: Courtesy, obamacare.com

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As Gujarat chief minister, Modi increased the budgetary spending on the health sector from 2.69 per cent of gross state domestic product in 2006-07 to 3.24 per cent by 2009-10, according to CII data.

Modi had claimed last year that the Gujarat government increased its spending on the health sector from Rs 800 crore (Rs 8 billion) in 2001 to Rs 5,500 crore (Rs 55 billion).

Other objectives of the new government in the health sector are reviewing the 2002 healthcare policy and initiating a new health policy, augmenting the shortfall of healthcare professionals, universalisation of emergency medical services ‘108’, and introducing sanitation rankings to measure and rank cities and towns for cleanliness.

 


Photographs: Illustration by Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
Tags: CII , Modi

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