New Delhi: The Centre is set to roll out financial support services to tuberculosis (TB) patients across India, providing Rs750 per month to each patient through direct benefit transfer (DBT).

To avail of this monetary benefit, TB patients enrolled under the government’s Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP) will have to produce their Aadhaar unique identity numbers and bank account details.

The ministry of health in November wrote to all the states and union territories to identify TB patients and enrol them to receive the monetary assistance.

“Three schemes of RNTCP are now on board the DBT Bharat Mission and being directly monitored from the prime minister’s office. For effective implementation of these schemes in a timely manner in every state, Aadhaar numbers and bank details are needed for all beneficiaries. We have asked the states to ensure Aadhaar number and bank account details of TB patients and providers to accelerate rollout of DBT schemes under RNTCP," said Manoj Jhalani, additional secretary in the health ministry.

India currently does not have an over-arching mechanism in place to provide social and nutritional support to TB patients. A few states such as Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand have implemented measures including provision of cash benefits, nutritional supplements and counselling to assist patients in the fight against the disease.

The proposal for monetary support aimed at providing nutritional support was facing resistance from within the government, with the objections ranging from duplication of benefits for TB patients to release of too much. According to the World Health Organisation, in 2016, India had an estimated 2.79 million cases of TB.

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