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New health scheme to benefit poor

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Mar 22, 2018, 3:47 am IST
Updated : Mar 22, 2018, 3:47 am IST

Finance minister Arun Jaitley had announced the scheme on February 1 while presenting the Budget for 2018-19.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley (Photo: PTI)
 Finance minister Arun Jaitley (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: The Centre’s much-hyped National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), which offers a benefit cover of Rs 5 lakh per family annually, received the Union Cabinet’s approval on Wednesday.

Targeted beneficiaries under the scheme will be more than 10 crore families belonging to poor and vulnerable population based on socio-economic caste census database.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley had announced the scheme on February 1 while presenting the Budget for 2018-19. Though it was first announced by the NDA government in its 2016-17 Budget, the PMO apparently was not happy with its outreach and with the Lok Sabha polls just a year away, it was reintroduced for the poor and farmers with higher insurance coverage, which is now hiked to Rs 5 lakh per family annually from the earlier Rs 1 lakh per family.

“It will subsume the ongoing centrally sponsored schemes — Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS),” official sources said. It is touted as the world’s largest government funded health care programme. Meanwhile in another significant decision, the Cabinet also approved amendments in the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016.

The proposed legislation ensures regulation of surrogacy, prohibits commercial surrogacy and allows altruistic surrogacy to the needy infertile couples.

Once this Bill is enacted in Parliament, a national surrogacy board will be set up by the Centre and the states will have to set up simiar boards at their level within three months of notification by the Union government, official sources said.

It will help regulate surrogacy services in the country and control unethical practices in surrogacy as commercial surrogacy will be prohibited including sale and purchase of human embryo and gametes.

Tags: national health protection scheme, arun jaitley, rashtriya swasthya bima yojana