Ayushman Bharat programme: a game changer


  • In the General Budget 2018-19, the Government of India announced two major initiatives in health sector, as part of Ayushman Bharat programme.
  • The two initiatives are Health and Wellness Centre and National Health Protection Scheme.


  • 1st February, 2018: The Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Shri Arun Jaitley presented the General Budget 2018-19 in Parliament on 1st February, 2018.
  • On health front, the Budget for the year will particularly focus on provision of good health care to economically less privileged.

What is Ayushman Bharat programme?

  • The Ayushman Bharat programme addresses health holistically, in primary, secondary and tertiary care systems.
  • It covers both prevention and health promotion.
  • Two flagship programmes under Ayushman Bharat programme are Health and Wellness Centre and National Health Protection Scheme

Health and Wellness Centre:

  • The National Health Policy, 2017 has envisioned Health and Wellness Centres as the foundation of India’s health system.


  • Under this 1.5 lakh health care centres will be established.


  • The Budget has allocated Rs.1200 crore for this flagship programme.

Key features of Health and Wellness Centre:

Comprehensive health care:

  • These centres will provide comprehensive health care, including for non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health services.

 Free health services:

  • These centres will also provide free essential drugs and diagnostic services.

Contribution of private sector:

  • Contribution of private sector through CSR and philanthropic institutions in adopting these centres is also envisaged.

National Health Protection Scheme:

  • The second flagship programme under Ayushman Bharat is National Health Protection Scheme.


  • It will cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage upto 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.


  • The government has not yet made any allocations for the scheme.

Key features National Health Protection Scheme:

World’s largest government funded health programme:

  • This will be the world’s largest government funded health care programme.

Awareness of health insurance:

  • The scheme would create tremendous awareness of health insurance, the same way Jan Dhan did for bank accounts.

Enhance productivity:

  • It will also ensure enhanced productivity, well being and avert wage loss and impoverishment.

Generate jobs:

  • Thes scheme will also generate lakhs of jobs, particularly for women.

Goal of Universal Health Coverage:

  • The Government is steadily but surely progressing towards the goal of Universal Health Coverage.

Higher life expectancy:

  • A higher health insurance cover means a higher life expectancy.

What are the other key initiatives taken for the healthcare sector in Union budget 2018-19?

  • The Government decided to allocate additional Rs.600 crore to provide nutritional support to all TB patients at the rate of Rs.500 per month for the duration of their treatment.
  • The government will be setting up 24 new Government Medical Colleges and Hospitals by upgrading existing district hospitals in the country.
  • Under Jan Dhan Yojana, the entire lot of 16 crore accounts will be brought under micro insurance and pension plans.
  • The Government will work to cover all poor households, including SC/ST households, under these in a mission mode.

Some related facts about the healthcare industry of India:

Market size: (Updated)

  • The Healthcare industry is growing at a tremendous pace owing to its strengthening coverage, services and increasing expenditure by public as well private player.
  • During 2008-20, the market is expected to record a CAGR of 16.5 per cent.
  • The total industry size is expected to touch USD280 billion by 2020.
  • As per the Ministry of Health, development of 50 technologies has been targeted in the FY16, for the treatment of diseases like Cancer & TB.
  • Government is emphasising on the eHealth initiatives such as Mother & Child Tracking System (MCTS) & Facilitation Centre (MCTFC).
  • Indian companies are entering into merger & acquisitions with domestic & foreign companies to drive growth & gain new markets.

Government initiatives: (Updated)

  • Development of Northeast Region (DONER) has already contributed Rs 25 crore (US$ 3.82 million) for its funding.
  • The Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) has been launched by the Government of India.
  • It aims to improve coverage of immunisation in the country and reach every child under two years of age and all the pregnant women who have not been part of the routine immunisation programme.
  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is tackles lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), hypertension, obesity and diabetes in India.
  • The Government of India aims to increase the total health expenditure to 2.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025 from the current 1.15 per cent.
  • Government of India has launched initiatives such as LaQshya, for Labour Room Quality Improvement, a mobile application for safe delivery, and operational guidelines for obstetric high dependency units (HDUs) and intensive care units (ICUs).


  • The two major initiatives in health sector under Ayushman Bharat programme will build a New India 2022.
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