Budget 2024: Finance Policy to Healthcare Facilities; Things in Focus

Here's what might be in focus in Budget 2024

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India is considering policy measures to support its aging population with health, financial, social, and digital resources, officials said. Stakeholder ministries, including the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the Ministry of Finance, and NITI Aayog, are discussing the framework for elderly care policies. The upcoming budget could reveal the government’s action plan for senior care, with potential announcements expected soon, according to an official involved in the discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Budget 2024: Finance Policy to Healthcare Facilities; Things in Focus

The ruling BJP, in its election manifesto, had pledged to address elderly care amidst significant societal changes. The proposed plan may expand the Ayushman Bharat PM Jan Arogya Yojana to cover all senior citizens, ensuring access to free, quality healthcare and extending coverage to include non-medical and at-home needs. Additionally, the government is negotiating with the private sector to develop a targeted health insurance product and working on regulations for the real estate sector to create senior care facilities, including housing for the elderly.

   

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Furthermore, there could be a significant increase in the senior citizens’ pension to address inflation. Currently, the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme provides Rs 200 per month for those up to 79 years old and Rs 500 for those 80 and above, with the central government fully funding this scheme and states able to contribute additional funds to enhance benefits.

NITI Aayog projects that India’s aging population will grow to 319 million (19.5% of the total population) by 2050, up from 104 million (10% of the population) now, with the senior care industry estimated at $7 billion (Rs 57,881 crore). Currently, healthcare for the elderly is provided through the National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly (NPHCE) run by the Health Ministry and the National Action Plan for Senior Citizens under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

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