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India Cannot Realise Demographic Dividend Without Its Citizens Being Healthy: Arun Jaitley
Health and Wellness centres also found a place front and centre during the speech. Mr. Jaitley announced the creation of 1.5 lakh centres which will “bring healthcare closer to home”. These centres will provide free essential drugs and diagnostic services
Photo Credit : Himanshu Kumar
The moment of truth that everyone has been waiting for unveiled itself earlier today.
A boost of Rs 1,200 crore for the healthcare sector was announced during the presentation of Union Budget 2018 in the Parliament, on Thursday, February 1.
At the start of his budget speech, Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said: “This year's budget will particularly concentrate on agriculture and rural economy. We will also focus on promoting education and healthcare.”
Arun Jaitley announced the ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme, saying that “India cannot realise demographic dividend without its citizens being healthy”. He called it the “largest government-funded health programme”.
The Finance Minister announced two initiatives under the 'Ayushman Bharat programme' which is aimed at looking at health holistically in primary and tertiary systems. The Rs 1,200 crore boost is set aside for setting up centres across the country that will deliver on many health services while providing essential medicines and equipment.
Under Ayushman Bharat health programme, “we will avert wage loss and impoverishment”, said Jaitley. He claimed that these schemes will also create jobs for women.
Mr. Jaitley announced a new Flagship National Health Protection Scheme, under the programme, providing health insurance cover of ₹5 lakh per family per year. The Scheme will cover 10 crore vulnerable families, with approximately 50 crore beneficiaries.
The size, coverage and the amount committed per family, announced in the area of healthcare is clearly mammoth and promising. This heralds a beginning of the next generation of social security as India moves aggressively towards a progressive developing economy.
“We are slowly progressing towards universal health coverage,” Mr. Jaitley said in his speech.
Health and Wellness centres also found a place front and centre during the speech. Mr. Jaitley announced the creation of 1.5 lakh centres which will “bring healthcare closer to home”. These centres will provide free essential drugs and diagnostic services.
Jaitley also shared that the government has provided affordable medicines through more than 3000 Jan Aushadhi centres. It has also reduced prices of stents and provided free dialysis services for the poor.
“We have controlled stent prices and there has been a production-centric thrust by the government. We have also provided free dialysis facilities for the poor,” shared Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
Rs 600 crore to provide nutritional support for all tuberculosis patients was also announced.
He said the government plans to set up 24 new medical colleges and hospitals by upgrading district level ones, a part of many a wish list of the wellness players.