Mega healthcare to cost about Rs 10,000 crore

NEW DELHI: Disclosing details of the mega healthcare scheme announced in the Budget, the government on Friday said this will be jointly executed by the Centre and states and will incur a total cost of up to Rs 10,000 crore in the first year. Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said a lot of specificity will be brought into the scheme by the first quarter of the next fiscal.
“Based on the experience of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and some number crunching by the Health Ministry — also a belief that this will be a shared scheme between Centre and state — it places the next year’s requirement at around Rs 4,000 crore,” Garg said.
He clarified while the total outlay of the scheme would be around Rs 8,000 crore to Rs 10,000 crore, the Centre’s share would be around Rs 4,000 crore.
The Secretary said the scheme would cover the poor and near-poor families which would be identified based either on the Socio-Economic Survey or the poverty line.
Garg added that unlike the RSBY, the health coverage in the scheme will be automatic. “People don’t have to apply. That’s another beauty of the scheme in comparison with RSBY where individual registrations were to be made.
“This is the coverage that the government provides,” Garg said.
He added that “specific illnesses” will be covered for 10 crore families and they would be entitled to hospital expenses up to Rs 5 lakh.
Referring to those specific illnesses, he said, “these are the kind of emergencies which put many of these households in a state of poverty”.
Terming it as the world’s largest government funded healthcare programme, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday announced the National Health Protection Scheme under which Rs 5 lakh cover will be provided a year to 10 crore poor and vulnerable families in the country.
‘Budget not cause of market crash’: Meanwhile, the government on Friday denied that the Union Budget presented a day earlier was the reason for the market crash of over 800 points while conceding there could be “some anxiety” that triggered it.
Garg said it needed to be figured out as to what were the reasons for the biggest crash since November 2016.
“Yesterday there may have been some impact of Long Term Capital Gains (LTCG) Tax. It was expected. We need to figure out (reasons for Friday’s crash)… Maybe portfolio reshuffling has started, maybe some anxiety is there,” he said.
“Today there was no Budget announcement,” he said, when asked if the sharp drop in stock prices was influenced by the Budget announcements especially the LTCG tax of 10 per cent on shares and upward revision of Fiscal Deficit target.
Replying to a question, he also ruled out any possibility of downgrading by rating agencies of the Indian economy in the light of burgeoning fiscal deficit.
Garg said Indian economy had clearly made a turnaround but touching double-digit growth was not on the horizon. He asserted that the economy would clock the top end of the 7-7.5 per cent growth target for the next fiscal.
“Double-digit growth in this environment of global low growth rates seem to be very, very far,” he said.
Though he said global issues would be a hurdle in India reaching 10 per cent growth rate, India was well on its growth trajectory and should aspire for double-digit growth.
“The Indian economy has turned around and is well on its growth trajectory. But we should aim for it (double-digit growth),” he said.
The slowdown in the GDP growth rate bottomed out in the first quarter of the current fiscal when the growth rate was 5.7 per cent. It increased to 6.3 per cent in the second quarter, he said.
“This clearly marks a turnaround in the growth story. The sectors which were not performing that well in the last four-five quarters have also started turning around whether it is construction, real estate, trading, manufacturing or exports.”
He was optimistic of the economy achieving the top end of the GDP growth target for next fiscal, which is between 7 and 7.5 per cent. — IANS