Reiterating Government's commitment to the welfare of farmers and doubling farmers' income by 2022, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a slew of new schemes and measures in the union budget 2018-19 presented in Parliament on Thursday.
Indian officials have said "the world's largest government funded health care programme" would have a central allocation of 20 billion rupees in 2018-19, but added that more funds would be made available as the programme is rolled out over the year.
While giving it on one side, the government is taking it back in the form of education and health cess which is hiked from 3 to 4 per cent. Government also invited contribution from the private sector as a part of their CSR mandate for adoption of these Wellness and Health Centres.
Jaitley announced a flagship National Health Protection Scheme under which Rs 5 lakh cover will be provided a year to 10 crore poor and vulnerable families in the country benefiting approx. This will include Secondary and Tertiary Care.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the Budget as "development-friendly" and said it will strengthen the vision of a "new India".
Thirdly, for dryland farmers, very inadequate provision has been made in the budget to help improve water storage and create micro irrigation infrastructure. The increase in medical colleges will hopefully change our presently skewed doctor-patient ratio.
Stocks of the listed aviation companies climbed on Thursday as the government announced addition of more airports under the regional connectivity scheme.
Introduction of Ayushman Bharat Programme. "This step is a productive move towards the path of universal healthcare for the poor and weaker section of our society".
Likewise, to increase the digital intensity in the education system in rural areas by gradually moving from "black board" to "digital board" is much needed. However, merely rolling out schemes is of no use unless they are sincerely implemented at the ground level. Kiran Kalakuntala, founder and CEO, eKincare, said, it was great to see the government acknowledge that venture capital funds and the angel investors need an innovative and regulatory regime for their growth.
"It is not a populist Budget, but a popular one because it blends both economy and politics", he said. They felt the Budget's focus on emerging technologies will definitely prove beneficial for startups. This budgetary allocation for the prevention and treatment non-communicable diseases will be a critical step to stem the tide now. The scheme, which will give health coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per person, is expected to be launched on 2 October 2018. By providing this comprehensive healthcare scheme, the government is empowering the poor,"said Jaitley". Special focus has been laid on Antyodaya in the budget which is government's main target also.
The Finance Minister indicated a slippage in fiscal deficit for the current year revising it from 3.2 per cent to 3.5 per cent and from 3 per cent to 3.3 per cent (Rs 5.95 lakh crore) of the GDP next year, implying that the government will be borrowing more to balance its books. This budget will provide relief to the common men of the country.