Even as Ayushman Bharat, popularly known as Modicare, has been the highlight this year in the healthcare sector, the Narendra Modi government, in the five budgets, steadily increased the budgetary outlay for the flagship Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), data from Budget documents show.
Launched in 2003, the PMSSY aims to correct regional imbalances in affordable tertiary healthcare services by setting up new AIIMS-like hospitals and upgrading existing medical colleges. The allocations under PMSSY were Rs 989 crore in 2012-13; Rs 1,273 crore in 2013-14; Rs 822 crore in 2014-15; Rs 1,577 in 2015-16; Rs 1,953 2016-17; Rs 3,175 in 2017-18 (revised estimate); Rs 3,825 crore in 2018-19 (budgeted estimate).
If compared the last allocation done by the UPA-II government to the budgeted estimated allocation by the NDA government in 2018-19, there is a three times increase. As pointed out by rating agency Crisil, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) has been 47% in the last five years.
“Over the past four years, the central government has already spent Rs 7,527 crore (fiscals 2015 to 2018) on the scheme (PMSSY) and has budgeted Rs 3,825 crore for fiscal 2019. Robust CAGR of 47% in expenditure on the scheme clearly hints at central government’s emphasis on tertiary care infrastructure,” Crisil said in a report.
However, the mammoth task reviving tertiary healthcare in a country with 1.21 billion, would require more than just the public spending. India’s allocation in the healthcare sector has been the lowest in the world between 0.98% and 1.18% of the GDP. “The government will definitely need the support of the private sector in rapidly expanding secondary and tertiary care health services in the country,” the report added.
There are several schemes under which the government, in partnership with public and private insurance companies, provide healthcare coverage to, mainly, employees. The schemes are Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) for employees of the central government, Employees’ State Insurance Scheme (ESIS) for employees of factories, and Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), shared between state and centre for poor population.
The National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), the Ayushman Bharat scheme will subsume RSBY and will also lead to an increase in the insurance cover from Rs 1-2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.