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Availing free treatment under Ayushman Bharat scheme helped 10 lakh people save Rs 3,000 cr: Goyal

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Dion Global

01 Feb 2019

Availing treatment free of cost under the Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (AB-PMJAY) has helped around 10 lakh people save Rs 3,000 crore since its launch in September, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said while presenting the Union Budget in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

He said the government has been providing drugs at cheaper prices through Jan Aushadhi stores and lakhs of poor and middle-class people are also benefiting from reduced prices of essential medicines, cardiac stents and knee implants.

"Earlier, a poor man used to be in dilemma whether to fulfil daily needs of the family or save the life of an ailing member. This situation has deeply pained our prime minister. We launched the world's largest healthcare programme, Ayushman Bharat, to provide medical treatment to nearly 50 crore people," Goyal said.

"Already close to 10 lakh patients have benefited for medical treatment which would have cost them Rs 3,000 crore through free treatment made available under the scheme."

Stating the last five years have seen massive scale-up in healthcare, Goyal highlighted the steps taken up by the Narendra Modi government to provide affordable healthcare to the poor.

He said 21 AIIMS are operating or are being established in the country.

"Fourteen of these 21 AIIIMS have been announced since 2014. I am happy to announce setting up of a new -- the 22nd AIIMS -- in Haryana," Goyal said.

He said achieving "a healthy India" is the "ninth dimension" of the government's vision and it aims to create a healthy society with an environment of health assurance and the support of necessary health infrastructure.

"Our government has rolled out the Ayushman Bharat scheme. By 2030, we will work towards a distress-free healthcare and a functional and comprehensive wellness system for all. Such a healthy India will be built with the participation of women having equal rights and concern for their safety and empowerment," the minister said.

Goyal Friday announced a Rs 61,398 crore budgetary allocation for the health sector for the 2019-2020 fiscal, with Rs 6,400 crore earmarked for the centre's ambitious AB-PMJAY health insurance scheme.

The health outlay for the upcoming financial year is the highest in the last two financial years and a 16 per cent increase over the 2018-2019 allocation which was Rs 54,302.50 crore.

Rs 250 crore has been allocated for setting up Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres under the National Urban Health Mission to provide comprehensive and quality primary care close to the community. Rs 1350.01 crore has been earmarked for setting up health and wellness centres under the National Rural Health Mission.

Under the programme, nearly 1.5 lakh sub-centres and primary health centres will be transformed as health and wellness centres by 2022. These centre will be equipped to provide treatment for diseases such as blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and old age-related illness.