Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today announced a flagship National Healthcare Protection Scheme to provide coverage for underprivileged families in the Union Budget 2018-19.
The scheme aims to provide a coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family every year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in his Union Budget speech. It will cover 10 crore families, benefitting more than 50 crore people, Jaitley added.
The finance minister said enough resources will be allocated to this plan, without specifying the spend amount. This will be the world’s largest government funded healthcare initiative, Jaitley added. In FY18, the government had allocated close to Rs 48,878 crore for the health segment, up from Rs 39,879 crore in the previous year.
The government is steadily progressing towards providing universal health coverage for citizens as the country cannot realise its demographic dividend until it is healthy, Jaitley said.
Under the plan the government will set up 1.5 lakh health centres to “bring healthcare closer to home”. These centres will provide healthcare support for non-communicable diseases, maternal and childcare services, along with free drugs and diagnosis. The finance minister set aside Rs 1,200 crore for the same.
Additionally, Rs 600 crore will be allocated to provide nutritional support for tuberculosis patients.
The article is originally published in Bloomberg Quint
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