NCDC to launch Ayushman Sahakar scheme to fund co-operative healthcare facilities

Ayushman Sahakar scheme

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In News:

  • The Centre has launched the Ayushman Sahakar scheme to involve co-operatives in creating healthcare infrastructure in the country.

Background:

  • It has been observed that due to lack of credit support, many cooperative hospitals find difficulty to start new aspects of medical education including colleges offering MBBS, BDS, BAMS programmes.
  • Moreover, the ongoing pandemic has brought into focus the need to strengthen health infrastructure in rural areas.
  • The scheme takes inspiration from the successful work cooperatives have done in the healthcare sector in Kerala. The NCDC has so far financed around 30 hospitals in Kerala.

Ayushman Sahakar scheme

About: Ayushman Sahakar scheme

  • Under the scheme, the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) will give loans to cooperatives to set up healthcare facilities.
  • The scheme aligns itself with the focus of the National Health Policy 2017, covering health systems in all their dimensions.
  • The various dimensions include investments in health, organisation of healthcare services, access to technologies, development of human resources and affordable healthcare to farmers.
Objectives:
  • Assist cooperative societies to provide comprehensive healthcare including education, services, insurance and related activities.
  • Assist promotion of AYUSH facilities by cooperative societies.
  • Assist cooperative societies to meet the objectives of National Health Policy.
  • Assist cooperative societies to participate in the National Digital Health Mission.
Provisions:
  • Under the scheme, the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) will give loans to eligible cooperatives totalling Rs 10,000 crore in the coming years.
  • The assistance will flow either through state governments/ UT administrations or directly to the eligible cooperatives.
  • The scheme would specifically cover establishment, modernisation, expansion, repairs, renovation of hospitals, and healthcare and education infrastructure encompassing all hospitals and Ayush facilities.
  • It would also cover yoga wellness centre, ayurveda, allopathy, unani, siddha, homoeopathy and other traditional medicine healthcare centres.
  • The scheme provides also working capital to meet operational requirements. It also provides interest subvention of one percent to women majority cooperatives.
Potential benefits:
  • There are about 52 hospitals across the country run by cooperatives, with a cumulative bed strength of more than 5,000.
  • The NCDC fund will give a boost to provision of healthcare services run by cooperatives.
  • In the process, the scheme would revolutionize the way healthcare delivery takes place in rural areas.

About: National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC)

  • NCDC is an apex level statutory autonomous institution set up in 1963. It functions under the administrative control of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
  • It has been created for the purpose of promoting programmes for the production, marketing, storage, export and import of agricultural produce, industrial goods and services like hospital & healthcare and education etc. on cooperative principles.
  • It extends financial assistance to cooperatives and is the most preferred financial institution for cooperatives.

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