Giving a boost to healthcare in rural areas, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday hiked the allocation for the flagship National Rural Health Mission by an additional Rs 2,057 crore (Rs 20.57 billion) over and above Rs 12,070 crore (Rs 120.7 billion) in the Interim Budget.
Apart from this, the health sector as a whole has an allocation of Rs 4,447 crore (Rs 44.47 billion). The finance Minister said the response for Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, which was operationalised last year, has been very good.
More than 46 lakh (4.6 million) BPL families in 18 states and Union Territories have been issued bio-metric smart cards. This scheme empowers poor families by giving them freedom of choice for using healthcare services from an extensive list of hospitals including private ones.
Government proposes to bring all BPL families under this scheme. "An amount of Rs 350 crore (Rs 3.5 billion), marking 40 per cent increase over the previous allocation is being provided in 2009-10 Budget estimates," he said.