Budget 2018: Will take 5-6 months to roll out National Health Protection Scheme, says Amitabh Kant
NITI Aayog chief executive Amitabh Kant discusses the contours of the newly-proposed health for all scheme, the minimum support price and the benefits of blockchain technology.
On the proposed National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS):
The central government and the states are likely to fund the scheme on a 60:40 basis, with premium per person expected to be in the range of Rs1,000-1,200 per year, a cost which would be borne entirely by the government. The roll-out will happen within the next six months. We’ve done a lot of due diligence by looking at examples from across the world as well as the 24 schemes run by different states in the country. Our assumption is the broad premium per person would be in the range of Rs1,000-1,200. Rajasthan implements a scheme with a coverage of Rs3.75 lakh where the premium is about Rs550. The national scheme will be in this range. So, on an annual basis, we would require about Rs10,000-Rs12,000 crore.
This year, it would take us the next 5-6 months to roll out the scheme. So, the maximum fiscal requirement is likely to be Rs4,000-4,500 crore.
On assured minimum support price of 1.5 times production cost:
After studying existing models in place across states, the government will soon launch a central scheme.
Different states have been implementing different procurement models. There is a deficiency payment model being implemented in Madhya Pradesh. These is also a scheme in Haryana for perishable crops. And there is a third one in Telangana which gives out a fixed payment per acre, which is far more simpler. We need to study these different models and will evolve the best way forward.
On blockchain technology:
Applications of blockchain technology will be explored as part of the mission on artificial intelligence. Blockchain is particularly useful to enforce contracts and for land records management.
Nearly 35 crore contract-related cases are pending in our courts. We do poorly on ease of doing business rankings particularly due to weak contract enforcement. Only Pakistan and Papua New Guinea do worse than us. Blockchain technology can help us clean the entire volume of pending cases in our courts within 14 months.