Jaitley moots federal bodies for health, agriculture

Indicating Centre’s intention to ensure more concentration of resources and also powers in the country, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has proposed to bring both Health and Agriculture, under the purview of two new national federations, similar to the GST Council, to coordinate State and Central policies and schemes.

Presently, both health and agriculture are State subjects under the Constitution and centrally sponsored schemes are carried out in both sectors. Laying out the case for a federal structure in these two key areas, Jaitley pointed out that both the Centre and the States spent resources, ran schemes, and established hospitals and other institutions.

“We are doing Ayushman Bharat, they also have parallel schemes. All this needs to be merged, so that the benefit of these merged resources now starts falling to the benefit of the patient population of the country,” he said.

He put this new proposal while speaking at the CII’s Health Summit 2018, in New Delhi, last evening. However, he said that implementation would be the responsibility of the States, with the Centre responsible for coordination and insisted that this was not a turf issue.

He appealed that every State would stand to benefit if this coordination through such a federal institution actually came up. “Healthcare is an area where there would be least resistance because it is a welfare targeting programme,” he added.

However, he did not elaborate on the case for a federal institution in the agriculture sector. The Union Minister said that the Ayushman Bharat signalled a move away from an unpensioned, uninsured population to one where every citizen’s health and welfare was a priority.

For Local News and Immediate Delivery, download our Android App