Budget 2020

A helping hand in times of health crises

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley arriving to present the Union Budget 2018 at the Parliament House in New Delhi on February 01, 2018.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley arriving to present the Union Budget 2018 at the Parliament House in New Delhi on February 01, 2018.   | Photo Credit: R. V. Moorthy

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Budget proposes protection scheme to cover 10 crore poor households

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday unveiled an ambitious plan to launch “the world’s largest government-funded health care programme” that will benefit 10 crore households.

The proposed National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) will provide coverage of up to ₹5 lakh per family annually to take care of secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation costs. Mr. Jaitley reckoned that this will benefit around 50 crore people from poor and vulnerable families. Last year’s Budget had a similar announcement offering a ₹1 lakh cover for 8 crore families, but that’s yet to take off.

 

The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) now gives poor families an annual coverage of ₹30,000, while several State governments have implemented their own health insurance schemes with varying coverage levels.

“My government has now decided to take health protection to a more aspirational level,” Mr. Jaitley said.

“We have provided ₹2,000 crore for the next financial year under this scheme,” Expenditure Secretary Ajay Narayan Jha told a press conference after the Budget.

“Once the contours take shape, details will be worked out and further provisioning will be done,” Mr. Jha said.

 

“We have provided ₹2,000 crore for next financial year under this scheme,” Expenditure Secretary Ajay Narayan Jha said at press conference following the presentation of the Budget. “Once the contours of the scheme takes shape, details will be worked out and further provisioning will be done.”

While the budget allocation for the scheme seems inadequate, an additional ₹11,000 crore is expected to accrue from a new1% cess added on to the existing 3% education cess levied on all direct tax payers. The cess has been renamed health and education cess and some of it could be directed to the new scheme.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 9:04:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/budget/a-helping-hand-in-times-of-health-crises/article22626150.ece

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