Need GST Council like institution in healthcare: Jaitley

India

29 Nov 2018

Need GST Council like federal institution in healthcare, farm-sector: Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today made a case for developing a federal institution like GST Council in the healthcare and farm sector.

He hoped that such a federal body in healthcare sector should face least resistance from states, since the welfare schemes would be implemented through the states, with only Center coordinating it.

He said these sectors eminently require federal institutions of this kind.

Details

Healthcare and farm sector are not constitutionally provided for: Jaitley

"The GST was constitutionally provided for. Those areas (healthcare and farm sector) aren't constitutionally provided for, but political maturity can impose on governments to try that experiment," Jaitley said while addressing the CII Health Summit in New Delhi.

Listing out the necessity for setting up such a federal body, he said the states and Center both spend on healthcare and have their respective schemes.

Merger

Jaitley asserts state, Center healthcare schemes be merged

Jaitley said the states have their hospital, and the Center is also establishing institutes of eminence across India. The Center has implemented Ayushman Bharat, and states also have similar schemes.

"All these need to be merged so that the benefit of these merged-resources starts to benefit patient population of the country. Obviously, it'll be implemented through the states, with Center coordinating it," he said.

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Overall welfare

Jaitley believes every state would benefit from such federal institution

Jaitley further said, "And if you have a federal institution, ultimately this is not a turf issue if my scheme is better than your scheme. It is essentially a welfare issue, whether the patients in my state are better than the patients in other states. Whether they have more facilities."

He said every state would stand to benefit if this coordination actually came up.

GST Council

Center and states agreed for a GST Council last year

In the run up to the implementation of India's biggest indirect tax overhaul GST on last July, the Center and states had agreed to set up a GST Council, chaired by Union Finance Minister and comprising finance ministers of all states.

"That's India's first experiment by creating a federal institution. We have had 31 meetings (since) and taken several decisions, all unanimously," said Jaitley.

When Ayushman Bharat was being conceptualized, there were apprehensions: Jaitley

Recalling the roll out of healthcare scheme Ayushman Bharat, Jaitley said when the scheme was being conceptualized, there were discussions on whether it will succeed, how will private sector hospital treat patients, how will the queues and footfalls at hospitals be handled.

Healthcare scheme

'I foresee in next 3-4 years, this figure exponentially increasing'

However ever since the Ayushman Bharat health scheme was launched in September, as many as 3 lakh poor people have benefited from it, government data showed.

"I foresee in next 3-4 years, this figure exponentially increasing as the campaign would be picking up so that the awareness that such a facility is available and this would lead to a far greater realization," Jaitley said.

A brief about the Ayushman Bharat scheme

The Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, aims to provide a coverage of Rs. 5 lakh per family annually, benefiting over 10.74 crore poor families for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization, through a network of empanelled health care providers.

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