Home World Economy States consulted, many on board for National Health Protection Scheme: Niti vice-chairman

States consulted, many on board for National Health Protection Scheme: Niti vice-chairman

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NEW DELHI: The government has started work on some of the mega Budget announcements related to agriculture, health and employment, in sync with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis on implementation, Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar said.

“Budget is now long ago. Given that the PM is focused on implementation, Niti Aayog has already consulted states on rolling out the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) and will soon meet top officials of all states at a two-day agriculture conference, to be inaugurated by PM himself,” Kumar said on Wednesday.

The Aayog is more of an “action tank” than think tank, he said. Kumar was speaking at an event on the post-budget economic scenario, organised jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Institute of Economic Growth. Union Budget 2018-19, presented by finance minister Arun Jaitley on February 1, is not populist by any means and has a clear focus on agriculture, health, employment and MSMEs, Kumar said.

“The only problem with NHPS could be if we are not able to roll it out properly. We have already met states on this and a large number of them are on board,” he said. The government has announced a health cover of up to Rs 5 lakh for 10 crore families with a family size of five, thus covering 50 crore beneficiaries under the NHPS. Besides, the Budget proposed to fix minimum support price for crops to guarantee farmers at least 50% returns on production costs, an effort towards doubling farmers’ income by 2022 as envisioned by the PM.

Commenting on the government’s initiatives to create jobs, the Niti Aayog vice-chairman said that for the first time there has been a shift from capital related subsidy to employment related subsidy, which is a very positive move.

“Starting from October, the country will get quarterly data on employment based on household survey as well as quarterly payroll data being collated at the big data analytics unit at NITI. These two measures will hopefully address the issue of inadequate employment data so far and will help us to frame our policies better,” Kumar said.

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