Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday termed the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), the showpiece of Union Budget 2018 presented yesterday, as yet another ‘jumla’ of the government given that was there was no allocation for the same. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his speech, described the scheme as the “world’s biggest government-funded public healthcare scheme”.
Taking to Twitter, Chidambaram said, “Yesterday, I had said that the new HEALTH CARE SCHEME is a jumla with no money provided in the budget. Today, FM has admitted that no money has been provided and he will ‘raise money in the future’. Perfect jumla.”
He went on to add: “Scheme without money is like flying a kite without a string. The kite flyer will say that the kite is flying, but there will be no kite and nothing will be flying.”
Jaitley has announced that under the government’s massive healthcare scheme, insurance worth Rs 5 lakh will be provided to 10 crore poor families every year.
Breaking down the expenditure on the scheme, Chidambaram, told IANS: “The promise of Rs 5 lakh per family for secondary and tertiary healthcare is a big ‘jumla’. The target group is 10 crore families. Assuming each family will avail of Rs 50,000 – one tenth of Rs 5 lakh – the amount required per year will be Rs 5 lakh crore.”
The former finance minister said if the insurance companies foot the bill, the estimated premium at Rs 5,000 to Rs 15,000 per family will require an outgo from Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 1.5 lakh crore per year.