Budget 2018: Jaitley Announces Health Conscious Budget

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New Delhi: Narendra Modi’s Union Budget 2018 gives importance to the health of common people through launching many schemes. Arun Jaitley’s budget speech tries to shore up Modi’s rural credentials.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday launched a new flagship programme, the National Health Protection Scheme, to cover ten crore poor families with an allocation of Rs 5 lakh per family. This is essentially an insurance scheme, where the government covers insurance payments for poor and vulnerable families.

“Madam this is important,” he said while announcing the details of the scheme. “My government has now decided to take healthcare protection to a new aspirational level.”
He called this the “world’s largest healthcare programme” and said that adequate funds will be provided for the implementation of it.

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The new fund will cover ten crore poor and vulnerable families, which will reach about 50 crore people. The amount of Rs 5 lakh per family will go towards helping these families access secondary and tertiary care.

“This will avert wage loss and impoverishment,” said Jaitley. In the last Budget, the government had announced the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) which had proposed to give Rs 1 lakh per family. The NHPS did not quite take off, with the government telling parliament just two months ago, “The contours of the scheme are yet to be finalised.” This notwithstanding, the government has proceeded with this hike, from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh per family.

This might be a gateway for a greater role for private insurance companies in public healthcare delivery for the poorest.