Is Union Budget 2018 uplifting for health, agri sectors?

Showkat Jan
Srinagar, Publish Date: Feb 13 2018 12:10AM | Updated Date: Feb 13 2018 12:10AM
Is Union Budget 2018 uplifting for health, agri sectors?

With respect to the entire budget, I would like to examine two key elements which are of worth in the entire Union Budget of 2018. These two elements were much highlighted in the budget speech. Firstly, I would like to postmortem world’s largest health scheme and second is the farmers’ scheme that I am also going to examine.

First big thing in the budget is increasing the health cover from Rs 30,000 to Rs 5 lakh, this is something which has been boosted in this particular budget and it will cover about 10 crore families, that means almost 50 crore people will be covered under this Ayushman Bharat program. If we take a look on this big scheme, it says about Rs 5 lakh cover will be given to poor families, which is a huge amount in numbers. A lot of critics are saying that the numbers are not adding up. If we look at the present scheme of Rs 30,000 in which government is paying Rs 600 to Rs 700 as a premium, so if the amount of Rs 30,000 would be increased to Rs 5 lakh for that premium will be increased around Rs 14000 under the government entity of oriental health insurance. So the total amount that centre government needs will be near about Rs 1.25 lakh core to Rs 1.5 lakh crore. If we add up the number in both states and center it will be around Rs1.25 lakh crore that all governments in India are spending on all health schemes. Now the question is how the government is planning to raise money for this scheme. In order to meet this scheme of poor people, the one way would be that government has to merge the entire healthcare schemes, otherwise there are not enough resources that will provide back to this scheme. Another question here is as to how it is the world’s largest healthcare scheme. The answer is simple, that the population of India is huge and the maximum population comes under the below poverty line. As per the report of Arjun Sengupta Committee 70 percent of India’s population earns Rs 20 a day per family.                     

Experts review on healthcare scheme:

Subash Chandra Grog (Economic Affairs Sectary) said, “The working is that if the center shares it in 60-40 ratio with states, the health care scheme could cost Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 crore.”

Kiran Mazumdor-shaw (Chairperson Biocon) said, “Big takeaway was healthcare scheme but devil is in detail. The move turn district hospital into medical colleges is an interesting health scheme. But how finance of it will work will need to be looked at.”

Devi Shetty (Chairman, Naraaayana Hrudayalaya) said, “I have been waiting for this budget for 30 years. What they have announced health scheme is perfectly doable as a self-funding scheme. It will require a lot of money but no more than what the government can spend without losing sleep.”

Shashi Tharoor, Member Parliament from Congress reacting to Budget 2018 said that “healthcare moves is something we will approve of. But our finance minister carefully avoided outlining the outlay for scheme, so the implementation will be key.”

Second thing in this budget is to look on farmer’s scheme, as our government said it is pro-farmers. The main thing for this particular scheme is the MSP (Minimum Support Price) in which 50 percent hike would be given to farmers. Here it is important to note that the base price of 50 percent hike. The calculations of MSP is given by Swaminathan Committee (2006) on farmers. They have given two concepts of MSP one is called C2 and another is called A2+FL. The base of MSP would be input cost e.g. labour, fertilizers, seeds etc. So when we put their input cost in the account we get something that is called A2 we can decide MSP. The other thing of MSP is that which we look C2 and also we take cost of A2 plus if this land is being rented by the farmer, how much rent he is paying. C2 is always more than A2 as per Sawminathan Committee. So the finance minister have not made it clear whether the calculation is being done on the basis of C2 or it being done on the basis of A2. Technically Sawminathan Committee has recommended it has to be based on C2. If we take a look on the last fiscal year, only 6 percent farmers have availed MSP. The fault is that it is not workable instrument that will take away farmers distress currently they are suffering from.

Former finance minister P. Chidambarm said that he did not see how they will double farmers’ income by 2022, the state of former has not improved one bit, and economic survey admits it.

Author is a journalism student at Central University, Jammu


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