Free medical treatment for senior citizens

Free medical treatment for senior citizens

As per the unverified information available in public domain, many developed and developing countries have been providing either free medical treatment including medicines and hospitalisation or on subsidised cost, to their senior citizens. However, specific details of such schemes/policies are not available with the Health Ministry.

The Government of India had launched National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly (NPHCE) during 2010-11 with a view to provide separate and specialized comprehensive health care facilities to senior citizens at various levels of state health care delivery system including outreach services. The health care facilities, being provided under this programme, are either free or highly subsidised.

The major activities of the NPHCE are:-

i) Setting up of Geriatric department in identified Regional Geriatric Centres (RGCs) with OPD care services and 30 bedded Geriatric ward for providing indoor services. RGCs will also undertake PG Courses in Geriatric for developing Human Resource

ii) Setting up of 10 bedded Geriatric units at all District Hospitals that will provide indoor services for elderly during hospitalisation.

iii) Establishment of Rehabilitation unit at all Community Health Centres (CHCs) and Geriatric clinic twice/week.

iv) Setting up weekly Geriatric clinic by trained medical Officer at Primary Health Centres (PHCs).

Apart from this, Government of India has launched a Senior Citizen Health Insurance scheme with effect from 01.04.2016, as a top up scheme of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY). The scheme will provide health coverage to senior citizen who are aged 60 years and above belonging to BPL category. Under this scheme, the health coverage is for Rs. 30,000/- per annum per senior citizen for treatment packages, over and above RSBY entitlement. The scheme would be cashless and run on the RSBY platform as an add-on cover. The add-on cover of Rs. 30,000/- per senior citizen will be for treatment of senior citizen only. Senior citizen are also eligible for cover under the primary RSBY on family floater basis of Rs. 30,000/-.

It is further added that Public Health is a State subject Under the National Health Mission, support is provided to States/UTs for provision of drugs free of cost to all those who access public health facilities including the elderly population.

The Health Minister, Shri J P Nadda stated this in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha here today. 


Health Status in SC Dominated Areas
The health status of Scheduled Caste dominated areas of India is not specified in Social, Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011. However, as per the information received from Department of Rural Development, as in SECC 2011 data the total number of disabilities on eight parameters is 1,63,60,463 for all India and 28,78,847 for Scheduled Castes including Barabanki District of Uttar Pradesh.

Public Health being a State subject, the primary responsibility to provide health care services to the people including Scheduled Castes lies with State/UT Government. Under the National Health Mission (NHM), the Central Government provides support to States/ UTs for strengthening of their healthcare systems for provision of equitable, accessible and affordable healthcare to all those who access public health facilities particularly the poor and vulnerable population including SC populations.

Under Rastriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) cashless hospital care up to Rs 30,000 is provided to poor and vulnerable families.

Under NHM, high focus States that are economically and socially backward and have poor health indices are provided with higher per capita allocation as compared to rest of the States. Further, within the States, to ensure equitable healthcare and to bring about sharper improvements in health outcomes, at least 25% of all districts in each State have been identified as “High Priority Districts” based on a composite health index. Barabanki has also been included as high priority district. These HPDs receive higher per capita funding, enhanced monitoring and focussed supportive supervision and encouraged to adopt innovative approaches to address their peculiar health challenges.

The Health Minister, Shri J P Nadda stated this in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha here today.

Action plan for diabetes prevention
Diabetes is one of the major Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) affecting people across the Globe including India. The Government has taken a number of steps for prevention and control of diabetes.

Government of India launched National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) which is implemented for interventions up to District level under the National Health Mission. NPCDCS has a focus on awareness generation for behaviour and life-style changes, screening and early diagnosis of persons with high level of risk factors and their treatment and referral (if required) to higher facilities for appropriate management for Non-communicable Diseases including Diabetes. Under NPCDCS, diagnosis and treatment facilities for Diabetes are provided through different levels of healthcare by setting up of NCD Clinics at District Hospitals and Community Health Centres (CHCs). The programme includes intervention at the level of Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and Sub-Centres also.

India is the first country globally to adopt the NCD Global Monitoring Framework and Action Plan to its National Context. The Framework includes a set of nine voluntary targets and 25 indicators which can be applied across regional and country settings. The framework elements include halting the rise in obesity and diabetes prevalence, reduction in alcohol use and promotion of physical activity.

The Government of India has developed a National Multi Sectoral Action Plan (NMSAP) for prevention and control of NCDs to guide multisectoral efforts towards attaining the National NCD objectives. The said NMSAP has been shared with relevant Central Government Ministries/Departments for their suggestions/feedback.

For holistic development of adolescent population, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2014 launched Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK) to reach out to 253 million adolescents – male and female, rural and urban, married and unmarried, in and out of school adolescents with special focus on marginalized and underserved groups. The six thematic areas covered under RKSK include Non-Communicable Diseases.

As informed by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), provision for declaration of sugar has been prescribed under sub-regulation 2.2.2(3) of Nutritional Information of Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011.

Labelling provisions for artificial sweetener are prescribed under sub regulation 2.4.5(24, 25, 27, 28 and 29) of Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011.

Several awareness initiatives have been undertaken by the Government including observance of World Diabetes Day, organising of screening and major awareness events at occasions such as the India International Trade Fair (IITF), Delhi.
The Health Minister, Shri J P Nadda stated this in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha here today. 


Common entrance test for all medical colleges
With the approval of the Central Government MCI had notified the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to Under Graduate (UG)/Post Graduate (PG) Medical Courses by amending Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 1997 and Postgraduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000 vide notifications dated 21.12.2010 from the academic year 2012-13. MCI issued a revised notification dated 27.02.2012 to conduct examination from the academic year 2013-14. The Hon’ble Supreme Court vide its judgment dated 18.07.2013 in NEET related cases quashed the implementation of NEET. The Central Government and MCI filed Review Petition (c) No. 2048-2157 of 2013 and Review Petition (c) No. 2159-2268 of 2013 respectively before the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The Review Petitions were heard by the Five-Judge Bench of Hon’ble Supreme Court. The Hon’ble Court vide its Order dated 11.04.2016 has allowed these Review Petitions and ordered that “We, therefore, allow these Review Petitions and recall the judgment dated 18th July, 2013 and direct that the matters be heard afresh. The Review Petitions stand disposed of as allowed.” Further, vide its order dated 28.04.2016 in writ petition No. 261/2016 filed by Sankalp Charitable Trust and anr., the Hon’ble Supreme Court has allowed conduct of NEET(UG) in two phases.

In case of Government medical colleges, the respective State Governments are responsible for fixation of fees. However, in the case of private unaided medical colleges, the fee structure is decided by the Committee set up by the respective State Government under the Chairmanship of a retired High Court Judge in pursuance of the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. It is for the Committee to decide whether the fee proposed by an Institute is justified and the fee fixed by the Committee is binding on the Institute.
The Health Minister, Shri J P Nadda stated this in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha here today.  

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