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Union Budget 2020: This is how govt will fund construction of more hospitals under Modi’s Ayushman Bharat in small cities

Budget 2020-2021: Giving an incentive to build more hospitals empanelled with PM’s Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme, the government will provide the viability gap funding under PPP model, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced while presenting the annual budget on Saturday. The announcement comes in the wake of the government’s intention to set up more hospitals […]

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Budget 2020-21: The net market borrowings would be at Rs 4.99 lakh crore in FY 2019-20 and are estimated at Rs 5.36 lakh crore in the next fiscal.
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Budget 2020 India: Government’s intention is to set up more hospitals in small cities of the country where people could avail the benefits of the scheme.

Budget 2020-2021: Giving an incentive to build more hospitals empanelled with PM’s Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme, the government will provide the viability gap funding under PPP model, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced while presenting the annual budget on Saturday. The announcement comes in the wake of the government’s intention to set up more hospitals in tier 2 and tier 3 cities of the country where people could avail the benefits of the scheme.

Sitharaman allocated a total of Rs 69,000 crore for the Health sector this year out of which Rs 6400 crore will be exclusively spent on the Ayushman Bharat Yojana. The health budget has been hiked from Rs 62398 crore in FY 2019-20 whereas the amount allocated for PM Aarogya Yojana remains the same for this year as well.

Sitharaman also said that the tax receipts on the import of medical devices will be utilised for setting up hospitals in 112 chosen districts of the country which at present don’t have any hospitals catering to Ayushman Bharat Yojana.

Presently only 20,000 hospitals across the country have been empanelled with the scheme and the government is committed to increasing the number of hospitals, Sitharaman said.

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Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana aka Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme was launched by the Modi government in September 2018. The scheme provides a health cover of up to Rs 5 Lac a year to 10 crore poor families across the country. The patients can avail cashless treatment at the designated government and private hospitals for any in-hospital treatment ranging from heart disease to organ transplant. Since its launch, around 7.8 million patients have availed the health insurance cover at around 21,271 hospitals spread over the country, data at the website of Ayushman Bharat showed.

Questions have been raised on the participation of private sector in the insurance scheme. Experts have raised apprehensions of inflated bills and unnecessary transplants from private establishments in order to mint money at the cost of government exchequer. The government had in response appointed Aarogya Mitras who mediate between the hospital and the patient to curb such malpractices.

Intense focus on curative care at the cost of primary care has been another problem with the scheme coupled with shortage of funds at the government’s disposal to pilot such a humongous scheme. National Health Authority (NHA), the implementing agency of Ayushman Bharat, had demanded the allocation of Rs 9000 crore in the financial year 2019-20 but the government only disbursed Rs 6400 crore for the scheme. The Union Health Ministry had demanded a sum of Rs 80000 crore but only Rs 62,398 crores were sanctioned in the year 2019-20. The health ministry had also objected last year that the NHA is eating into funds of its other schemes.

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