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Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi

Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi

Why in news?

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi (PMSSN) as a single non-lapsable reserve fund for Health from the proceeds of Health and Education Cess.
  • The proceeds of Health and Education Cess are levied under Section 136-b of Finance Act, 2007.
  • In the 2018 Budget, the Central government while announcing Ayushman Bharat Scheme, also announced replacement of existing 3% Education Cess by 4% Health and Education Cess.
  • One of the Major benefits of PMSSN will be better-quality access to universal and affordable health care

About Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi (PMSSN)

  • It is a non-lapsable reserve fund for Health in the Public Account
  • Proceeds of share of health in the Health and Education Cess will be credited into PMSSN
  • Accruals into the PMSSN will be utilized for the flagship schemes of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare namely:
    • Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY)
    • Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWCs)
    • National Health Mission
    • Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY)
  • Emergency & disaster preparedness and responses during health emergencies
  • Any future programme/scheme that targets to achieve progress towards SDGs and the targets set out in the National Health Policy (NHP) 2017.
  • Administration and maintenance of the PMSSN is entrusted to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW).
  • In any financial year, the expenditure on such schemes of the MoHFW would be initially incurred from the PMSSN and thereafter, from Gross Budgetary Support (GBS).

Current Situation of Health Sector

  • India’s health infrastructure came under considerable strain in 2020, with 11 million Covid cases and perhaps over a million requiring hospitalisation.
  • India currently has one doctor over the population of 1,445 against the WHO norm of 1:1000.
  • India spent 1.8% of its GDP on health in FY 2020-21 and 1-1.5% in the previous years.
  • As compared with the OECD countries’ average of 7.6% and other BRICS countries’ average of 3.6% on their health sector, this is considerably low.
  • As a result, India is among the top nations with the highest Out Of Pocket Expenditure (OOPE).
  • According to estimates, out of pocket expenses in healthcare in India hover close to 62%, nearly thrice the global average of 18%.

Healthcare sector Budget 2021  

  • Mission COVID Suraksha has also been launched to promote the development and testing of indigenous vaccine candidates.
  • At least 92 countries have approached India for a COVID-19 vaccine, thus bolstering the country’s credentials as the vaccine hub of the world.
  • Production-Linked Incentive schemes have been announced to boost domestic manufacture of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
  • Further, to ensure food and nutrition security for the poor and the vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis, the Government of India launched the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package for providing free food grains to 800 million beneficiaries.  (Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi)
  • To facilitate access to subsidised grains across the country, the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme has been enabled in 32 States/Union Territories covering 690 million beneficiaries.

Associated Challenges With Public Health Systems in India

  • Overlapping Jurisdiction:There is no single authority responsible for public health that is legally empowered to issue guidelines and enforce compliance of the health standards.
  • Lack of Primary Healthcare Services:The existing public primary health care model in the country is limited in scope. Even where there is a well-functioning public primary health centre, only services related to pregnancy care, limited childcare and certain services related to national health programmes are provided. This represents only 15% of all morbidities for which people seek care.
  • Inadequate Funding:Expenditure on public health funding has been consistently low in India (approximately 1.3% of GDP). As per OECD, India’s total out-of-pocket expenditure is around 2.3 % of GDP.
  • Supply-Side Deficiencies:Poor health management skills and lack of appropriate training and supportive supervision for health workers prevent delivery of the desired quality of health services.
  • Sub-optimal Public Health System:Due to this, it is challenging to tackle Non-communicable Diseases, which is all about prevention and early detection.

Way Forward

  • Incentivised R&D and reduced GST:Incentivising R&D by additional tax deductions to further support greater investments in new drug developments and reducing GST on life-saving and essential drugs.
  • To bring down costs:Beyond a few islands of excellence such as the AIIMS, investments in other medical colleges shall be encouraged to possibly bring down costs and ramp up quality of health services. The government may focus on medical education, infrastructure and research in an expanded health Budget.
  • Skill enhancement of healthcare workers: To prepare the existing healthcare workforce to provide the people the proposed healthcare facilities, it is important to give significant attention to their training, re-skilling, and knowledge upgradation.
  • Public Private Partnerships:Emphasising on Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in other clinical procedures and hospitals and leveraging private sector expertise in the vaccination drive for a quicker and successful achievement of the target.
  • (Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi)

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