Finance minister Arun Jaitley has announced a new health protection scheme in Union Budget 2016-17. In his budget address in the parliament today, the finance minister expressed concern that a serious illness of family member(s) caused 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 1 lakh per family, the finance minister said. For senior citizens of the age 60 years and above belonging to this category, an additional top-up package up to Rs30,000 will be provided.
Jaitley stated that 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 added.
About 2.2 lakh new patients of end stage renal disease get added in India every year resulting in additional demand for 3.4 crore dialysis sessions. With approximately 4,950 dialysis centres in India, largely in the private sector and concentrated in the major towns, the demand was only half met. Every dialysis session costs about Rs2,000 – an annual expenditure of more than Rs3 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.
To address this situation, Jaitley proposed to start a 'National Dialysis Services Programme'. Funds will be made available through PPP Mode under the National Health Mission, to provide dialysis services in all district hospitals. To reduce the cost, the finance minister proposed to exempt certain parts of dialysis equipment from basic customs duty, excise/CVD and SAD.