ayushman-sahakar-scheme

  • The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has launched Ayushman Sahakar, a scheme to assist cooperatives in creation of healthcare infrastructure in the country.

Formulated By :

National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).

  • NCDC was set up under an Act of Parliament in 1963 for promotion and development of cooperatives.
  • It functions under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

Provisions of the Fund :

  • NCDC would extend term loans to prospective cooperatives to the tune of Rs.10,000 crore in the coming years. 
  • Any Cooperative Society with suitable provision in its byelaws to undertake healthcare related activities would be able to access the NCDC fund.
  • The scheme covers establishment, modernization, expansion, repairs, renovation of hospital and healthcare and education infrastructure.
  • NCDC assistance will flow either through the State Governments/ UT Administrations or directly to the eligible cooperatives.
  • The scheme also provides working capital and margin money to meet operational requirements.
  • Further, the scheme provides interest subvention of 1% to women majority cooperatives.

Significance:

  • It has a comprehensive approach-hospitals, healthcare, medical education, nursing education, paramedical education, health insurance and holistic health systems such as AYUSH.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has brought into focus the requirement of creation of more facilities.
  • There are about 52 hospitals across the country run by cooperatives. They have cumulative bed strength of more than 5,000. The scheme would give a boost to provision of healthcare services by cooperatives.
  • The scheme aligns itself with the focus of the National Health Policy, 2017, covering the health systems in all their dimensions- investments in health, organization of healthcare services, access to technologies, development of human resources, encouragement of medical pluralism, affordable health care to farmers etc.
  • Cooperatives have a strong presence in rural areas, thus, cooperatives utilizing the scheme would revolutionize the way healthcare delivery takes place in rural areas.
  • It is in line with the National Digital Health Mission and would bring transformation in rural areas.