Budget

Budget is bold, a game changer, says Union Health Minister

J.P. Nadda. File photo

J.P. Nadda. File photo   | Photo Credit: Meeta Ahlawat

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‘Families will no longer crumble under medicare burden’

Calling it ‘historic’, ‘bold’ and ‘committed to the common man’, Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda welcomed Budget-2018 which had seen an 11.5% increase to the health budget.

Stating that the Budget would change the socio-economic scenario of the country and aid in increased productivity for the common man, the Health Minister told a press conference: “The Budget will spur growth and development. It is aimed towards all sections of the country. This is a visionary and people-oriented budget.”

The Minister spoke about the National Health Protection Scheme which is to cover 10 crore households with an annual package of ₹5 lakh for medical needs.

“This will change the face of health care in India and we will no longer have families breaking down under the financial burden of medical care,” said the Minister. He said the government was working on the intricate details of the scheme and would come out with a definite plan soon.

“We are confident about the scheme. Finances will never be a problem. Details will be given out as soon as we are ready to implement it,” he added.

‘₹2,000 cr. kept aside’

The Minister said the Budget was progressing towards universal health coverage and noted: “We are looking towards going away from diseases-specific treatment to providing preventive healthcare. We seek the support of everyone to ensure that this scheme is a success.”

Asked who will pay the premium for the scheme, Mr. Nadda said: “The government will pay the premium with State’s share. ₹2,000 crore has been kept for it as of now.”

“History is witness that whatever we [the BJP-led government] have committed, we have completed. That is why finance is not the problem, has never been the problem and will never remain a problem,” Mr. Nadda said.

Enhanced numbers

Asked about an earlier scheme where the government had announced a ₹ 1 lakh coverage, Mr. Nadda said under that programme, there were only four crore beneficiaries, whose number had been enhanced now.

The State governments were ready to implement the scheme and the financial arrangements would be made accordingly.

“States have to decide whether they want to subsume with this [scheme] or they want to run on their own,” he said.

The Minister also highlighted the nutritional support scheme for TB patients. “This is to ensure that patients adhere to the complete course of medicines, get nutritional support while doing this and are also netted in the counting system. Through this we hope to reduce and contain multidrug-resistant TB in India.”

”We are hopeful that this Budget will prove to be the game changer for us,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 7:19:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/budget/budget-is-bold-a-game-changer-says-nadda/article22636693.ece

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