Updated: May 7
The Union Budget 2020-2021 was announced on February 1, 2020, where the Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman spoke about the financial and budgetary allocations across various sectors. ZEPNURhealth has put together some highlights focusing on the Hospital and Healthcare sector. With a budget allocation of Rs 69,000 crore towards the Health sector, the Centre plans to expand the government’s health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojna(PMJAY).
Ayushman Bharat is a flagship insurance scheme of the Indian Government which was launched with a vision to achieve Universal Health Coverage as per the recommendation of National Health Policy 2017. Ayushman Bharat attempts to deliver a more comprehensive, need-based health care service and involves interventions in the healthcare system at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels with a holistic approach to care and treatment of patients. The Ayushman Bharat Scheme comprises of two related components:
Health and Wellness Centres(HWCs)
Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana(PM-JAY)
The amount of Rs 69,000 crore includes Rs 6,400 crore for the AB-PMJAY scheme. This scheme aims to expand its approach by developing and setting-up of more hospitals in Tier-II and Tier-III cities with development costs being incurred from taxes imposed on medical devices along with other viability gap funding from the government. The development of these hospitals would be through public-private partnerships. The empaneling of hospitals under the scheme has been a challenging process with a current number of hospitals listed under the private sector hospitals category. Under this scheme, the government had also initiated to set up 1,50,000 health and wellness centers (HWCs) by 2022.
The finance ministry also proposed to impose customs duty on the import of medical equipment with a view to supporting local Indian manufacturers. Health insurance is very important and as the rate of people taking health insurance is very low in our country, the change in the GST slab may be a driving factor for people to invest in health insurance.
The Finance Minister also recapitulated the government’s adherence to eliminate tuberculosis from India by the year 2025 with the slogan “TB Harega-Desh Bachega”. TB kills around 480,000 Indians every year and more than 1,400 people every day with many more cases going missing unnoticed or inadequately diagnosed.