New Delhi: The budgetary allocation for the Indian Health Ministry in 2016-17 stood at over Rs 38,000 crore, an increase of over Rs 4,000 crore over the previous year, even as the Centre decided to launch a new health protection scheme under which a cover of up to Rs 1 lakh per family will be provided to common people.
Besides this, the government will also open around 3,000 medical stores to provide quality medicines at affordable prices across the country and initiate a National Dialysis Services Programme under which it will provide dialysis services in all district hospitals.
The budget allocation for Health Ministry, including plan and non-plan head is Rs 37,061.55 crore. The allocation for Department of Health Research, also falling under the Ministry, is Rs 1,144.80 crore. The total allocation for the Ministry is Rs 38,206.35 crore, an increase Rs 4,375.75 crore over the current fiscal.
"A serious illness of family member(s) causes severe stress on the financial condition of poor and economically weak families, shaking the foundation of their economic security.
"In order to help such families, the government will launch a new health protection scheme which will provide health cover up to Rs one lakh per family," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said while unveiling the Budget 2016-17 in Parliament on Monday.
He said for senior citizens, who are 60 years of age and above, an additional top-up package up to Rs 30,000 will be provided.
On the schemes and outlay for the health sector, Health Minister J P Nadda said the budget has given the required impetus to the sector and the Ministry is geared up to implement the announced schemes.
"The new health protection scheme will provide the much required financial cover for the family with special focus on senior citizens who have been provided an additional top-up package up to Rs 30,000," he said.
Terming the budget as "visionary, forward-looking and progressive", Nadda said it takes care of the aspirations and goals of a cross-section of masses, including rural people.
Keeping in mind that there are about 2.2 lakh patients of End Stage Renal Disease in India every year, resulting in additional demand for 3.4 crore dialysis sessions, Jaitley also said a National Dialysis Services Programme will be initiated.
Jaitley noted that with approximately 4,950 dialysis centres in the country, largely in private sector and concentrated in major towns, the demand is only half met.
"Every dialysis session costs about Rs 2,000 leading to an annual expenditure of more than Rs 3 lakh. Besides, most families have to undertake frequent trips, often over long distances to access dialysis services, incurring heavy travel costs and loss of wages.
"Under the National Dialysis Services Programme, funds will be made available through PPP mode to provide dialysis services in all district hospitals," he said.
The Finance Minister also proposed to exempt certain components of dialysis equipment from basic customs duty, excise or Countervailing Duty (CVD) and Special Additional Duty (SAD).
Nadda said the programme will bring relief to a large section of the population and the proposal to exempt certain parts of dialysis equipment from basic customs duty is a step in the "right direction".
Observing that making quality medicines available at affordable prices has been a "key challenge", Jaitley said the government will open 3,000 stores under Prime Minister Jan Aushadhi Yojna.
"Making quality medicines available at affordable prices has been a key challenge. We will reinvigorate the supply of generic drugs. 3,000 stores under Prime Minister's Jan Aushadhi Yojana will be opened during 2016-17," he said.
Nadda described it as a "people-centric move".
The budgetary allocation, including plan and non-plan head for All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi stood at Rs 2,043 crore, while for National AIDS and STD Control Programme it is Rs 1,700 crore. For National Health Mission, a sum of Rs 19,037 crore has been earmarked.
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