Budget 2018: Modi govt announces world’s largest health protection scheme

Today, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget 2018,announced a National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) providing health insurance worth Rs 5 lakhs to 10 crore poor families


  • Here are some of the key highlights from the FM’s speech: Jaitley said NHPS is expected to benefit 50 crore people across India and called it’s as the largest government-funded health insurance scheme to be implemented anywhere in the world.
  • Health and wellness centres to bring healthcare closer and more accessible to people. Only a Swastha Bharat can be Smriddha Bharat. Demographic dividend realisation impossible without proper healthcare.
  • He said, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana will now expand to cover the lower strata of the society.
  • Rashtriya Samaj Beema Yojana: Healthcare protection to a new aspirational level. We are now launching a new national health protection scheme. The scheme will be the world’s largest government funded healthcare program. 10 crore families will get 5 lakh per year for their families to cover secondary and tertiary hospital expenses.
  • For 3 parliamentary constituencies 1 medical college.
  • Upgradation of 24 Government Medical Colleges at District Level.
  • Special scheme for controlling air pollution for Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and NCR regions.
  • Mediclaim – relief of 50, 000 for senior citizens.

The government also said it will be setting up 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres or community healthcare clinics across India under Bharat Ayushman Programme that will provide treatment for noncommunicable diseases. The government said it will be allotting Rs 1,200 crore for the programme and said it will ask the private enterprises to join the programme as part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

In a bid to increase the insurance cover for the poor, the government, under the flagship National Health Protection Scheme announced that a sum of up to Rs 5,00,000 will be provided to 10 crore poor families in India per year, which is expected to reach around 50 crore beneficiaries, and will be used for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Ayushman Bharat Scheme will help the marginal section in a big way. 10 crore families will get benefited from this.”

Indian Medical Association (IMA) welcomed certain provisions for health sector in the budget presented today. But, as per IMA, it still lacks the necessary allocations to mitigate the problems faced by the community in regards to have an accessible, affordable, accountable and scientific healthcare.

Dr Ravi Wankhedkar, IMA president said, “Even though  to open 1.5 lakhs health and wellness centres is a good move, the meager allocation of 1,200 crores translates to only Rs 80,000 per centre! Still, IMA promises to support this move in a PPP model.

He added, “IMA congratulates the governemnt for accepting IMA’s demand of setting more govt medical colleges by upgrading district hospitals, especially in unserved areas. Now, IMA demands that 50% of seats in government medical colleges should be reserved for the students of that district with a rider to serve in the same district. This will help in availability of MBBS doctors in rural areas. IMA will fully cooperate for smooth functioning of government medical colleges especially by providing faculty.”