Niti Aayog, the Centre’s think tank which is undertaking development of the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), has sought assistance from former UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani to build a system based on Aadhaar, a senior government official said. “Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant had reached out to him (Nilekani) to seek his opinion on the IT architecture for NHPS. There was a meeting regarding that between them and other officials of the programme on Wednesday,” the official said. It was not decided whether there will be such interactions in future, the official added.
As the then chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Nilekani, co-founder and currently non-executive chairman of software firm Infosys, had played an instrumental role in the roll-out of Aadhaar. Asked for a comment on Niti Aayog roping in Nilekani for his assistance, Aayog’s vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar told The Indian Express that he was unaware of the development.
In his Budget speech for 2018-19 earlier this month, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced the NHPS. An initial corpus of Rs 2,000 crore has been allocated for the scheme. “We will launch a flagship National Health Protection Scheme to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage up to 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation. This will be the world’s largest government-funded health care programme. Adequate funds will be provided for smooth implementation of this programme,” Jaitley had said in his speech.
Earlier this week, officials of Niti Aayog and the Health Ministry had met top management of insurance companies to seek inputs on implementation of the scheme. The annual premium on insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh for every eligible household under NHPS has been pegged at around Rs 900 to Rs 1,000 per family, lower than the earlier estimate of Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,200.
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