Aimed at a hassle-free implementation of “the world’s largest government-funded national health programme”, the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), the central government has decided to meet state health secretaries for detailed deliberations on issues pertaining to it. The detailed concept has already been sent to authorities concerned. It has been learnt that discussion will now be held on how to fit existing state schemes together conveniently.
The Centre also wants to make the cover comprehensive while keeping the premium amount realistic. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had provided an initial corpus of Rs 2,000 for (NHPS) in Union Budget 2018. A total of 10 crore poor and vulnerable families across the country will be provided a medical cover of Rs 5 lakh under the National Health Protection Scheme.
It has been learnt that NITI Aayog has projected the cost of the NHPS at around Rs 12,000 crore in total. The BJP-led NDA government is expecting to launch the mega health scheme by October this year. According to reports, the overall expenditure will be borne jointly by the Central government and the states and the ration will be 60:40 respectively. Earlier, reports had stated that state government may have to spend Rs 4,330 crore annually for the NHPS.
Apart from this, an official said that the possibility of incorporating existing state schemes, ranging from Chhattisgarh’s scheme that has a near-universal cover but with a small amount covered, alongside more focused schemes such as the ones in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, were also being considered.
Allaying the fund-related concerns, Jaitley said that in the coming year, there would be more comfortable situation in terms of revenues because the graphs as far as direct tax is concerned would move very fast. “Following demonetisation and implementation of Goods and Services Tax, the number of direct tax assesses have gone up … once anti-evasion measures, I do expect a little bump up in the GST collection also. I don’t see revenue going to be a major challenge in that,” Jaitley added.
Source: Financial Express