Towards “Ease of Living Life”

The budget being last one for the Modi Government before India goes to election in, 2019, the expectations from it were high. The view on whether it lived upto the expectations or not may vary and all ends cannot be satisfied at the same time. Before India was considered as a nation suffering from policy paralysis and corruption.with strong and dynamic leadership in the centre which assured the people of India “Acche Din” took steps and implemented series of fundamental structural reforms, which resulted in not only in increase in Foreign Direct Investment, but also Ease of doing business, effective and transparent allocation of natural resources in result of which India is the fastest growing economy in the world. Our’s is 2.5 trillion dollar economy, 7th largest in the world, and now heading ahead to achieve 5th position.

 

This years budget has mainly focused on strengthening agriculture, and rural economy, provision for good health to less privileged. This Budget is an election centric being it’s main focus on weaker sections of the economy mainly farmers, informal workers, rural sectors which were slipping away from the ruling party. This budget blends Fiscal prudence with social and economic necessity.

            After having praised for achieving “Ease of doing business” to certain extent Government has now taken a step forward towards achieving “Ease of Living Life”. Keeping this in mind, the outstanding proposal of all, one that this budget will be remembered for is initiation of a “UNIVERSAL HEALTH PROGRAMME” for the needy. This mega Insurance scheme for poor will give the health sector a big boost. Presently “Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana” provides annual coverage of Rs 30,000 to poor families. Government has taken Health care protection to a new aspirational level. Flagship “National Health Protection Scheme” to cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families, this is to approximately 50 crore beneficiaries by providing them upto Rs 5 Lakhs per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. The benefits of his scheme will be reaped by nearly 40% of the population. This announcement is labeled as “Modi care” on social media. The ambitious plan to roll out health coverage for 10 crore families will make it world’s largest Government funded health care programme. This move will see a growth in our state sponsored scheme patients.NHP Scheme aimed at Universal coverage in particular come in praise from World Health Organisation.

            In more than 3000 “Jan Ayushadhi Kendra” more than 800 medicines are being sold at less rate. Prices of stent are being effectively controlled. Free Dialysis is made available to the poor. ”Ayushman Bharat Programme” to cover both prevention of diseases and health promotion. National Health Policy 2017 has in vision to open 1.5 lakhs Health promotion. National Health Policy 2017 has in vision to open 1.5 Lakhs Health and Wellness centers which will provide comprehensive health care including non-communicable diseases and maternal and child services, it will provided free essential drugs and diagnostic services. 1200 crores are committed by budget towards this Flagship Programme. 600 crores are allocated in the Budget for nutritional support to tuberculosis patients.  24 new medical colleges and hospitals are being aimed at by upgrading existing district hospitals in the country. The move towards Universal Healthcare comprehensive healthcare centers and new medical colleges will help bridge the Rural-Urban  divide. Tax relief on entities with turnover upto Rs 250 crores will also have a positive impact on health sector. It will allow mid-sized healthcare players to invest and thereby improve the quality of healthcare in the country. So far, the law Insurance cover led to very high out of pocket expenditure on health depriving a large number of households from good health care facilities. The Insurance players and hospitals stand to gain from the scheme. “Pradhan Mantri Jeevan  Bima Yojana” has benefited 5.22 crore families with Life Insurance cover of Rs 2 Lakhs on payment of premium of Rs 330 p.a. under Prime Minister Suraksha Bima Yojana” 13 crore 25 Lakhs People have been insured with personal accident with cover of 2 Lakhs on payment of premium of Rs 12 p.a.

Challenges:-

It has been observed that public spending on health has been comparatively low. The allocation for National Health Insurance Scheme is peanuts owing to its hugeness. Even with additional Funding from an increased health cum education cess of 4% and help from state Government won’t be sufficient enough. Right now Scheme covers only hospitalization for major diseases. It aims to cover 10 crores people, but existing hospitals do not have enough beds, surgeons and nurses to deal with so many patients. The scheme could be scaled up over the time, but that may be a very long time. The Government will either have to raise public  investment to strengthen it’s own service or incentives the private sector.

            According to Mr. Jaitley, he will be able to raise additional resources form long term capital gains tax and additional cess, higher revenue from GST is also expected. This will help Government to build up resources for the Health Insurance Scheme.  Government will have to shell out huge subsidy as premium to make it viable for Insurance Company. This Budget has been a big boon to Health Sector and It’s incidental and ancillary businesses with a good growth owing to big announcement made in the Budget.

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