[op-ed snap] A first step: National Health Protection Mission


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the NHPS Scheme

Mains level: Complement this newscard with our previous newscards on the same issue(go through the attached story on the Health Sector)


Union Cabinet’s decision on the National Health Protection Mission(NHPS) scheme

  1. The Union Cabinet has recently approved the modalities of its implementation
  2. For a start, the apex council that will steer the programme and the governing board to operationalise it in partnership with the States need to be set up

Expectations from the state governments

  1.  The States, which have a statutory responsibility for provision of health care, have to act quickly and form dedicated agencies to run the scheme

Legal necessities

  1. Since the NHPM represents the foundation for a universal health coverage system that should eventually cover all Indians, it needs to be given a sound legal basis, ideally through a separate law
  2. This could be on the lines of legislation governing the rights to food and information
  3. Such legislation would strengthen entitlement to care, which is vital to the scheme’s success
  4. It will also enable much-needed regulatory control over pricing of hospital-based treatments

Targeted groups

  1. The initial norms set for availing benefits under the NHPM appear to make the inclusion of vulnerable groups such as senior citizens, women and children contingent on families meeting other criteria
    (except in the case of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe households)
  2. The government should take the bold step of including these groups universally
  3. the financial risk can be borne by the taxpayer

WHO on the NHPS

  1. Universal health coverage is defined by the WHO as a state when “all people obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them”

Raising the core budgetary spending every year is not enough 

  1. Attention should be paid to social determinants of health
  2. Affordable housing, planned urban development, pollution control and road safety are some aspects vital for reducing the public health burden
  3. Unfortunately, governments are paying little attention to these issues, as the quality of life erodes even with steady economic growth

The way forward

  1. It is a challenging task to make all this a reality, and the government will have to work hard to put it in place
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.
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