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Govt approves Ayushman Bharat health protection scheme, bill to ban commercial surrogacy

The health protection scheme will benefit 10 crore poor families with a cover of Rs 5 lakh.

india Updated: Mar 21, 2018 23:36 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Ayushman Bharat,health protection scheme,Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana
The Union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the scheme touted as the world’s largest government funded health care programme. (PTI File Photo)

The Union Cabinet approved launch of the government’s flagship Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) on Monday, over a month after finance minister Arun Jaitley announced it in his budget speech.

The two key initiatives of Ayushman Bharat are the implementation of the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), which offers insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh to every vulnerable family, and strengthening of the country’s primary healthcare delivery system. Over 10 crore families and 50 crore people are expected to benefit. Beneficiaries will be able to avail of cashless service at any government or private empanelled hospital across the country. There is no cap on family size, and nobody will be denied benefits in the absence of an Aadhaar number.

The cabinet has proposed formation of an Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission Council chaired by health minister JP Nadda, and states will need to depute a state health agency to implement it. States can utilise an existing trust, society, not-for-profit company, or nodal agency to implement the scheme, or set up a new entity. To ensure the smooth routing of funds from Centre to states, transfers will be done directly through an escrow account (a third-party account for accumulating disbursements).

Nod to amendments in Surrogacy Bill

The cabinet approved certain amendments in the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, prohibiting commercial surrogacy while allowing altruistic surrogacy for the benefit of “needy and infertile” married Indian couples. The bill also intends to prevent sex-selection for surrogacy. The cabinet proposed the formation of a National Surrogacy Board.

Commission for OBC categorisation

The Cabinet also approved the second and final extension of the term of the commission constituted to examine the issue of sub-categoriation of Other Backward Classes in Central List. The commission has been granted an extension up to June 20.

18 new Indian missions in Africa

The cabinet also approved the opening of 18 new Indian Missions in Africa over a four year period from 2018-2021, which will increase the number of Resident Indian Missions from 29 to 47.

Development push for J-K, Northeast

The Cabinet approved continuation of two schemes. While PM’s Development Package for J&K 2015 will allow creation of infrastructure in district hospitals, sub-district hospitals and primary health centres for five years, the NE Industrial Development Scheme, 2017, will give incentives to industrial units.

First Published: Mar 21, 2018 23:36 IST