Health Sector Policies

Basic Facts about Health in India

  • The Directive Principles of State Policy emphasises the importance of Health sector. Article 47 states the ‘Duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health’
  • Health is a state subject under 7th schedule of the constitution
  • Doctor patient ratio is meagre 1:1661
  • The Government spending on healthcare as a percentage of GDP stands at 4% which is one of the lowest in the world
  • Health Insurance coverage in India remains very low and out of pocket expenditure on health is also high

Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY)

Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana is a National Health Insurance Program targeted at poor people in India. This insurance policy can be availed through both public and private insurance companies. Please take a look at the following core features of RSBY.


Performance of the Scheme:

The Positives: 

  1. The Scheme has won awards from International Organizations like United Nations, World Bank and International Labour Organization as one of the best insurance schemes in the world
  2. The healthcare focus in rural areas improved considerably since the launch of the scheme
  3. Hospital-based health coverage has effectively reduced household expenditures


  1. The scheme does not cover outpatient expenditure (i.e, the expenses incurred for ordinary ailments that does not require admission in a bed) thus RSBY risks being a band-aid solution to a much larger problem
  2. Insurance companies have left out several diseases under RSBY thus making them unaffordable for BPL households
  3. The criterion of Below Poverty Line (BPL) excludes the poor above this line who are in need of health insurance
  4. Responsibility of spreading awareness by state governments has been handed over to insurance companies
  5. The need for robust and supportive primary healthcare is still at nascent stage

National Health Policy 2015

National Health policy outlines the broad focus areas of Healthcare in India. It covers vision, priorities, problems and future of Healthcare sector. This policy is currently in the drafting stage. Its broad focus areas are provided below


Janani Suraksha Yojana

Janani Suraksha Yojana aims at improving the hospitalisation of poor pregnant women for delivery. The home based delivery of babies has resulted in risk of death for infants and the pregnant mother.

The features of this scheme are

  • Cash assistance is provided for pregnant women for delivery in hospitals
  • This scheme aims at reducing Maternal and Infant Mortality Rates
  • The entire funding needed is provided by the Central Government
  • Under this programme ASHAs (Accredited social health activists) will assist the women during their pregnancy by making regular visits and bring them to hospitals for delivery

What is meant by ASHA and what they do? 

Accredited social health activists are health workers from the community. They have the following responsibilities

  • Motivating women to give birth in hospitals
  • Bringing children to immunization clinics
  • Encouraging family planning
  • Using First aids to treat basic illness
  • Maintaining demographic (population) records
  • Improving village sanitation

Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram

Janani Sishu Suraksha Karyakram aims at reducing the out of pocket expenditure during pregnancy. The brief objectives of this scheme are

  • Free delivery in hospitals including C-Sections
  • Free entitlements including free diagnostic services and drugs
  • Free food during stay in hospitals
  • Free transport from home to health institutions
  • Provision of free blood

Jan Aushadhi Scheme

Jan Aushadhi Scheme aims at providing generic medicines at affordable prices. Government has opened Jan Aushadhi Stores for providing these medicines. The major objectives of this scheme are provided below.

What are Jan Aushadhi Stores?

Any Non Governmental Organization, Private hospitals or charities can open this store with financial assistance provided by the Government. Many essential medicines are provided by these stores.

What are Branded and Generic Medicines?



  1. Wikipedia
  2. forumias.com/portal
  3. Economic and Political Weekly
  4. India Year Book
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