Health insurance cover big takeaway in Budget: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

Bengaluru, Feb 1 (IANS) Terming the Union Budget for 2018-19 as exhaustive and comprehensive, Biocon Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw saod on Thursday one of the big takeaways was the health insurance scheme for about 50-crore people in the country.

“The Budget talks about covering half the population — about 50-crore beneficiaries in a universal healthcare system. It remains to be seen how the financial mechanism is going to work as it will determine the effectiveness of delivering on such an ambitious universal healthcare system,” -MazumdarShaw told the media here.

Announcing the flagship National Health Protection Scheme, which he termed as the world’s largest government funded healthcare programme, Finance Minister Jaitley said the government proposed to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage up to Rs five lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.

The universal healthcare system was “long overdue” in the country to enable inclusive economic development, the Biocon chief said, adding, “Without health protection, the poor will remain poor.”

“I’m quite pleased with the budget. The government has tried to do a lot and the measures in the budget will relieve some of the current agricultural stress,” Shaw said on the margins of a Budget viewing session held by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here.

“I’m also interested in the government’s mission to create 24 medical colleges at district hospitals. If implemented effectively, it can address both clinical practice and research,” asserted Shaw.

It was “encouraging” to see the Budget’s focus on science and technology, with India being amongst the lowest investors in the field compared to other BRICS nations, she said.

“There is a huge outlay of one lakh crore to revitalise our research centres, but I would rather see our centres of excellence playing a mentoring role to the nascent research institutes rather than just giving the nascent institutes money to start their own journey,” she stated.

Hub-and-spoke method is a better approach towards research institutes than just allocating money, added Mazumdar-Shaw.

Jyothi Labs joint Managing Director Ullas Kamath said the Budget was oriented towards rural upliftment, which was important for the country.

“Providing the poor with cooking gas connections is important. The direction which the Budget has given in terms of the rural needs is perfect,” said Kamath at an interactive session on the Union Budget, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), Karnataka Council along with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) here.

Toyota Kirloskar Vice-Chairman Shekar Viswanathan said the government had identified that the air pollution in the country’s northern region was due to crop burning and “in situ” there would be a mechanism in place to monitor and address the issue.

“The government has recognised that crop burning is the real cause and not vehicles or cars,” asserted Viswanathan at the session.



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