Kochi | The Centre is considering using unclaimed amounts in various government investments to provide healthcare to the country’s senior citizens, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today. In fact, I am currently working on a programme we have approved last year where all the unclaimed amounts in various government investments are now to be taken over and used for providing healthcare to senior citizens.
It is a programme which is under consideration, Jaitley said. He was speaking at a function organised here to celebrate the achievement of Kerala government’s Karunya Benevolent Fund, launched to finance treatment expenses of poor people from the revenue earned from its Karunya lottery.
Hailing Kerala Finance Minister K M Mani for introducing the Karunya Benevolent Fund through which the state government has distributed Rs 800 crore to 1,11,111 beneficiaries, Jaitley said other states can also emulate such programme for providing healthcare to the poor and needy.
Noting that the amount for the health scheme was raised through the Karunya lottery started in October 2011, he said, Mani has used the money coming from lottery and made lottery also respectable by utilising it for providing healthcare to the poor and needy.
He said state governments across the country have expanded public health care but the number of doctors are still inadequate. We have about 5,00,000 doctors short still. Jaitley also hailed the role of the private sector medical institutions in providing very high quality healthcare across the country. In fact, it is now universally accepted that even though private healthcare is very costly…compared to what it is in the developed world, we are still much better off.
That is one reason why patients from across the world are now being attracted to come to India – we call medical tourism and people in developed countries now and other developed world and other regional areas around India consider India relatively by global standards a low-cost healthcare destination, he said.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the state government has made available lifelong unlimited treatment benefits to haemophiliacs from the Karunya fund irrespective of their above the poverty line (APL) or BPL status.