Budget 2018: Highlights in the Healthcare sector

Healthcare saw one of the biggest gains as a sector in the Budget that was presented by Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley today in the Parliament. A new initiative called Ayushman Bharat was launched that aimed to benefit over 10 crore Indians.

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Here are the highlights of this programme from today’s budget:

*Under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, Rs. 1200 Crore has been allocated for 1.5 Lakh health and wellness centres. These centres will provide comprehensive health care, including for non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health services.  These centres will also provide free essential drugs and diagnostic services.

*Another path breaking initiative has been the National Health Protection Scheme to provide Hospitalisation cover to over 10 Crore poor and vulnerable families.

*This will be the world’s largest government funded health care programme providing coverage upto 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.

*24 new Government Medical Colleges and Hospitals will be set up, by up-grading existing district hospitals in the country. This would ensure that there is at least 1 Medical College for every 3 Parliamentary Constituencies and at least 1 Government Medical College in each State of the country.

*Rs 600 crore has been allocated for the nutritional support of Tuberculosis patients which includes a Rs 500 per month per patient during the period of the treatment.

*A 13.5% increase for health care sector compared to previous year (Rs 24909 crore this year compared to Rs 21941 crore).

*The budget also indicated a raise in the Section 80D limit of the Income-tax Act relating to deduction in respect of health insurance premium to Rs 50,000 from the earlier 30,000.The section provides medical insurance or preventive health check-up of a senior citizen, deduction of Rs 30000.