Launched under the aegis of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, the Ayushman Sahakar Yojana, initiated on October 19, 2020, represents a pioneering scheme with a transformative agenda.
It aims to empower cooperatives to assume a pivotal role in bolstering the healthcare infrastructure in India, a need that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Under this visionary scheme, the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) is poised to extend term loans amounting to an impressive Rs. 10,000 crore in the forthcoming years. This substantial financial infusion is set to redefine the healthcare landscape of the nation.
Ayushman Sahakar Yojana 2023
The Ayushman Sahakar Fund, meticulously administered by the National Cooperative Development Corporation, is designed to be accessible to any cooperative society equipped to engage in healthcare-related activities. The heart of this scheme lies in the provision of term loans, a financial lifeline that promises to reach an astounding Rs. 10,000 crore.
The primary focus of these financial resources is the establishment and rejuvenation of hospitals, modernization, expansion, and the essential maintenance and repairs of healthcare institutions. Additionally, the development of healthcare and education infrastructure assumes a paramount role. To cater comprehensively to the diverse needs of cooperatives, working capital and margin money will also be extended.
In a praiseworthy commitment to fostering gender equity and empowerment, the Ayushman Sahakar scheme pledges an interest subvention of 1% to cooperatives with a majority of women members.
Objectives of Ayushman Sahakar Yojana
The Ayushman Sahakar Yojana is underpinned by several key objectives that underscore its significance and potential impact:
- Facilitate the provision of affordable and comprehensive healthcare through hospitals, healthcare facilities, and educational institutions managed by cooperative societies.
- Promote AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy) facilities and services through cooperative societies.
- Enable cooperative societies to align with the objectives of the National Health Policy.
- Encourage cooperative societies to actively participate in the National Digital Health Mission.
- Empower cooperative societies to deliver holistic healthcare services, including education, insurance, and other related activities.
The Significance of Ayushman Sahakar Yojana
At present, India boasts around 52 cooperative-run hospitals, collectively offering 5,000 beds. With the introduction of Ayushman Sahakar, these numbers are poised to experience a remarkable surge, promising a substantial boost to the healthcare sector. This scheme’s alignment with the National Health Policy of 2017 underscores its strategic importance in shaping the country’s healthcare landscape.
Furthermore, Ayushman Sahakar synergizes effectively with the National Digital Health Mission, offering the prospect of transformative change, particularly in rural areas. The NCDC’s assistance will be channeled either through state governments or directly to eligible cooperative societies, ensuring an efficient and targeted allocation of resources.
Scope and Coverage of Ayushman Sahakar Yojana
Ayushman Sahakar has an expansive scope, encompassing a wide array of healthcare-related initiatives:
- Establishment, modernization, expansion, repairs, and renovation of hospitals and healthcare and education infrastructure.
- Operation of hospitals and medical colleges for undergraduate and postgraduate programs.
- Facilitating Yoga wellness centers, Ayurveda, Allopathy, Homeopathy, and traditional medicine healthcare centers.
- Provision of healthcare services catering to the elderly, persons with disabilities, and the mentally challenged.
- Offering mobile clinic services and emergency medical services.
- Supporting drug testing laboratories and blood banks.
- Ensuring maternal health and childcare services, reproductive and child health services.
- Leveraging Information and Communication Technology for digital health.
- Promoting health insurance accredited by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA).
- Supporting any other healthcare-related centers or services deemed fit by the NCDC for assistance.
National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC)
The NCDC, established by an Act of Parliament in 1963 and operating under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, holds a rich legacy of fostering cooperative development in India. Over the decades, it has extended loans totaling approximately Rs. 1.60 lakh crore to cooperatives.
The NCDC plays a multifaceted role, including planning, promoting, and financing programs that encompass the production, processing, marketing, storage, export, and import of products and the supply of consumer goods. Apart from the Ayushman Sahakar Scheme, the NCDC has also launched other notable initiatives, including the Sahakar Mitra Scheme, Yuva Sahakar, and the Sahakar Pragya Initiative.
In conclusion, the Ayushman Sahakar Yojana represents a transformative leap forward in enhancing healthcare infrastructure and services in India. Beyond its immediate financial support, this scheme holds the potential to revolutionize healthcare delivery, empower cooperative societies, and align with national healthcare policies and digital health initiatives. Aspirants preparing for competitive examinations, such as the IAS, would do well to comprehend the intricate details of this visionary scheme, which is poised to redefine India’s healthcare landscape.
Expert Editorial Comment
The article provides a comprehensive overview of the Ayushman Sahakar Yojana, a visionary scheme aimed at catalyzing the role of cooperative societies in bolstering India’s healthcare infrastructure. This initiative is not merely a financial package; it embodies a transformative approach to addressing the pressing healthcare needs of the nation. Here are some key insights to consider:
- Cooperative Empowerment: Ayushman Sahakar Yojana recognizes the pivotal role that cooperative societies can play in healthcare, fostering a sense of ownership and community-driven healthcare solutions. This approach is in line with the cooperative movement’s principles of self-help and mutual assistance.
- Holistic Healthcare: The scheme’s focus on holistic healthcare, including traditional medicine and digital health, reflects a comprehensive understanding of India’s diverse healthcare landscape. This broad approach is essential in catering to the diverse healthcare needs of the population.
- Alignment with National Initiatives: Ayushman Sahakar Yojana’s alignment with the National Health Policy and the National Digital Health Mission underscores its strategic relevance and potential for synergy with broader healthcare initiatives.
- Financial Inclusion: The provision of interest subvention to women-majority cooperatives is a commendable step toward promoting gender equity and inclusion in healthcare entrepreneurship.
- NCDC’s Role: The National Cooperative Development Corporation’s pivotal role in implementing this scheme, along with its rich history of cooperative development, lends credibility and expertise to the initiative.
- Scope and Impact: The scheme’s wide-ranging scope, covering diverse healthcare services and infrastructure, holds the promise of transforming India’s healthcare landscape. It has the potential to improve access, quality, and affordability of healthcare services, particularly in underserved areas.
In conclusion, the Ayushman Sahakar Yojana represents a significant stride in India’s journey toward equitable and comprehensive healthcare. Aspirants preparing for competitive exams, especially the IAS, should not only grasp the intricate details but also appreciate the scheme’s broader implications for cooperative development, healthcare policy, and the nation’s overall well-being. This scheme, with its potential to empower communities and reshape healthcare delivery, is indeed a noteworthy topic for examination and policy analysis.