India’s flagship universal health scheme, Ayushman Bharat, saw a 10 per cent increase in the outlay y-o-y to ₹7,500 crore, with the Finance Ministry proposing to bring ASHA and Anganwadi workers under the scheme’s ambit.

“Healthcare cover under the Ayushman Bharat scheme will be extended to all ASHA workers, Anganwadi workers, and helpers,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman said while presenting the Interim Budget 2024-25.

Of the ₹7,500 crore allocation, around ₹411 crore will be under the capital outlay head, while ₹7,089 crore is the proposed revenue outlay for the next fiscal.

The revised estimates for FY24 under the Ayushman Bharat scheme were ₹6,800 crore, while the Budget Estimates for FY24 were ₹7,200 crore (including a capital outlay of ₹411 crore).

Ayushman Bharat or the PM Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) provides cashless and paperless benefit cover of ₹5 lakh per annum per family on a floater basis in the empanelled hospitals across India. At present, AB-PMJAY aims to cover 12 crore families (covering more than 50.00 crore population in India).

Health Budget

India’s Health Budget saw a 13 per cent increase in the proposed outlay to ₹87,657 crore for FY25. The revised estimates for the fiscal stood at ₹77,625 core against a Budget Estimate of ₹86,175 crore.

Amongst the various heads, central sector schemes – such as Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission, and Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana – including an Insurance package for Covid-19, had a share of ₹7,615 crore. This includes a revenue outlay of ₹4,654 crore and a capital outlay of ₹2,962 crore. The segment saw a 36 per cent increase in the proposed outlay over the revised estimates for FY24, which stood at ₹5,599 crore.

Incidentally, the Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PMABHIM) is a centrally sponsored scheme with some Central Sector components spread over five years from 2021-22 to 2025-26. It aims to implement the Atmanirbhar Bharat Package for the Health sector as part of the series of government measures for providing stimulus to the economy. These measures include developing capacities of health systems and institutions across the continuum of care at all levels — primary, secondary, and tertiary — to prepare health systems to respond effectively to current and future pandemics and disasters.

Allocations for autonomous bodies of the Health Ministry, such as AIIMS New Delhi, were set at ₹18,000 crore.