Pros and Cons of Modi­care

AN AU­DA­CIOUS AN­NOUNCE­MENT DUR­ING THE UNION BUD­GET RAISES HOPE AND SCEPTICISM. WILL THE HEALTH SCHEME BE PM MODI’S LEGACY OR AN ALBATROSS? THERE’S NO EASY AN­SWER

India Today - - INSIDE - By Da­mayanti Datta

Is the gov­ern­ment’s new health in­sur­ance plan the panacea for all of the coun­try’s health­care ills?

ON FE­BRU­ARY 1, ABOUT 41 MIN­UTES INTO HIS BUD­GET 2018 speech, Union fi­nance min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley de­liv­ered the piece de re­sis­tance: “Madam speaker, my gov­ern­ment has now de­cided to take health pro­tec­tion to a more as­pi­ra­tional level.” With cab­i­net col­leagues cheer­ing him on, he out­lined the Na­tional Health Pro­tec­tion Scheme (NHPS), of­fer­ing hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion cov­er­age of Rs 5 lakh a year to 100 mil­lion poor and vul­ner­a­ble fam­i­lies, or 500 mil­lion In­di­ans. “This will be the world’s largest gov­ern­ment-funded health­care pro­gramme,” he promised—a nod towards ‘New In­dia 2022’, and ‘uni­ver­sal health­care’. A smile creased Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s usu­ally in­scrutable de­meanour as he thumped the ta­ble in ro­bust ap­proval.

Modi knows how to cap­ture the mag­i­cal power of dreams. In his last 44 months in power, the pre­mier of the world’s largest democ­racy has an­nounced a raft of “world’s largest” schemes: Aad­haar to Jan Dhan Yo­jana, Pa­hal to Swachh Bharat, Dig­i­tal Sak­sharta to Prad­han Mantri Awas Yo­jana, Sa­haj Bi­jli Har Ghar Yo­jana to GST. Now comes the NHPS, un­der the Ayush­man Bharat Yo­jana. “A con­stant worry in poor peo­ple’s lives is how to treat ill­ness. Will free them from this big worry,” the PM tweeted.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.