Jaitley moots new federal bodies

Coordinated approach: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley speaking at the CII Health Summit in New Delhi on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: AP

Indian healthcare and agriculture sectors need a federal institution similar to the GST Council to coordinate State and Central policies and schemes, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.

Speaking at the Confederation of Indian Industry’s Health Summit on Thursday, Mr. Jaitley said the GST Council, which comprised the Union and State Finance Ministers, was a successful experiment in practical federalism.

“There are two other institutions which eminently require federal institutions of this kind. The GST was constitutionally provided for, but political maturity can impose on government to try that experiment. One is healthcare and one is agriculture,” he said.

Better use of resources

While both health and agriculture are State subjects under the Constitution, Centrally sponsored schemes are carried out in both sectors.

Laying out the case for a federal structure in the case of healthcare, Mr. Jaitley pointed out that both the Centre and the States spent resources, ran schemes, and established hospitals and other institutions. “We are doing Ayushman Bharat, they also have parallel schemes. All this needs to be merged, so that the benefit of these merged resources now starts falling to the benefit of the patient population of the country,” he said.

Implementation would be the responsibility of the States, with the Centre responsible for coordination, he said, insisting that this was not a turf issue.

“Every State would stand to benefit if this coordination through such a federal institution actually came up,” he said.

“Healthcare is an area where there would be least resistance because it is a welfare targeting programme.” He did not elaborate on the case for a federal institution in the agriculture sector.

He said the Ayushman Bharat signalled a move away from an unpensioned, uninsured population to one where every citizen’s health and welfare was a priority.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2021 4:30:16 PM |

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