Arun Jaitley, finance minister. Photo: AP
Arun Jaitley, finance minister. Photo: AP

Budget 2016-17: Arun Jaitley announces dialysis unit in all district hospitals

The dialysis equipment, which need to be imported, will be fully or partially exempted from customs duty

New Delhi: Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Monday announced a programme that aims to provide dialysis services to renal patients in all district hospitals across the country.

Called the National Dialysis Service Programme, Jaitley proposed to raise funds for the initiative through public-private partnership and urged private players to step in.

The dialysis equipment, which need to be imported, will be exempted from customs duty, fully or partially, Jaitley said in his budget speech. He also proposed to reduce excise and other taxes for these equipment.

Jaitley said that currently patients have to travel long distances to avail dialysis services, which increases costs substantially. He said each session of dialysis costs 2,000 per patient, and nearly 3.4 lakh sessions are conducted every year in India.

Kidney-related ailments have been on the rise in India, with some studies suggesting their prevalence to be as high as 17% in cities.

Patients in stage III of chronic kidney disease need dialysis once or twice a week. Mortality among patients increases due to lack of dialysis facilities near their place of residence.

Among other announcements for the health sector, Jaitley proposed a new Health Protection Scheme to give a health insurance cover of 1 lakh per household.

This is in addition to the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana which gives a cover of 30,000 for select diseases and treatments.

He also announced opening of 3,000 stores that will provide generic medicines at low rates in financial year 2016-17 under the Jan Aushadhi Scheme.

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