AYUSHMAN BHARAT- HEALTH PROTECTION SCHEME

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In today’s time, healthcare has been a leading concern for people and everyone tends to make provisions to have themselves and their family protected physically by investing in health insurance. In order to have health insurance people are required to make investment in the form of premium paid by them yearly, however, some parts of the society such as the poor and underprivileged are deprived of making such preparation for themselves due to lack of funds.

In 2018, the Government in order to provide health security to such people under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme launched the “Prime Minister Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY)” implemented a policy which shall provide health coverage to 500 million citizens. The citizens who shall be eligible to avail the benefits under the Scheme are those listed under the Socio Economic Case Census (SECC) and such other persons specified by the Government.

The Ayushman Bharat Scheme launched by the BJP ruled Government in 2018 is said to be the world’s largest government funded healthcare program which shall cover approximately 10 crore poor and vulnerable families providing cashless coverage of up to Rs. 5 Lakh per year in secondary and tertiary hospitals.

The allocation of budget for National Health Mission (NHM) has rarely been of concern for the Government. Infact, the data of the previous year’s showed a downward decline in allocation of funds where the NHM budget for 2018-19 was decreased to 57% from 60% in 2012-13 allotted for reducing the child and maternal mortality. The allocation of the NHM budget towards  procurement and distribution of contraceptives was decreased to 1.5 % in 2018-19 from 3% in 2013-14 and such allocation is below the budget required to meet the country’s need for family planning.

The Government now in its Union Budget 2019, presented on 1st February, 2019 has now raised the allocation for the Ayushman Bharat Scheme by 167% to Rs. 6,400 crore for 2019-2020 from Rs. 2,400 crore in 2018-19.  This project is a dream project for Mr. Narendra Modi.

Beside the increase in the allocation for Ayushman Bharat Scheme, the health allocation has increased by 6% and allocation for the NHM for health services such as immunization, neonatal care, TB, Leprosy etc has also been increased by 3.46%.

The Interim Finance Minister, Mr. Piyush Goyal, while presenting the budget stated that the Scheme has already benefited approximately 10 lakh patients which would have otherwise costed them Rs. 3,000 crore. In addition it was also highlighted that many citizens shall be benefited from reduction in the prices of essential medicines available at affordable price through the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendras. He also announced the setting up AIIMS in Haryana which brings the total count of Central Medical Institutions in India to 22.

Considering that the Government is now paying attention to the health sector in this Union Budget 2019, it is hopeful that India can achieve its Millennium Development Goals set out in 2015, which included –improvement in maternal health, to combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases and to reduce child mortality.

Sanjana Bakshi

Senior Associate

The Indian Lawyer

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