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Union Budget 2020: Government likely to cut funds in Health Sector; here's what it'll affect

A decrease in the budget for the Health Sector would clearly mean less fund allocation for flagship schemes

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India is likely to not get any major boosts in its health sector, as sources have now stated that the upcoming Union Budget may not allocate any major funds for Health.

According to sources, the Union Ministry of Finance may allocate around Rs 68,000 crore for Health Budget. This would imply an increase of roughly about Rs 5000 - 6000 crore from the Union Budget of the last Financial Year (FY), which is not much.

For reference, the central government had allocated an amount of Rs 62,398 for the Health sector last year, in the Union Budget for FY 2019-20, which was a massive 19% increase as compared to the FY 2018-19 Union Budget.

In 2018, the government had allocated just Rs 52,800 crore for Health.

Sources further stated that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has pitched for an additional Rs 20,000 crore, to help implement schemes like the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (PM-JAY)

Notably, the AB-PMJAY is a flagship scheme of the Narendra Modi-led central government that aims to provide an annual health cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation to over 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries). This scheme was earlier known as National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) before it was rechristened to PM-JAY.

It is, according to the government, the world’s largest health insurance/assurance scheme fully financed by the government.

A decrease in the budget for the Health Sector would clearly mean less fund allocation for flagship schemes like the PMJAY, the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM), the National Health Mission (NHM), and the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY).

What's more, the lesser funding may further impact the government's mission to set up Ayushman Bharat Health & Wellness Centres in urban areas, as well as Health and Wellness centers in rural areas. It is also likely to hinder poor and vulnerable families from effectively getting cashless access to health care services. 

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