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Ayushman Sahakar Scheme

  • 20 Oct 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

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

Key Points

  • 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.
    • Recent initiatives include Sahakar Cooptube NCDC Channel (Youth-focussed), Sahakar Mitra (Internship Programme), etc.
  • Features:
    • 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.
    • It is in line with the National Digital Health Mission and would bring transformation in rural areas.
      • Cooperatives have a strong presence in rural areas, thus, cooperatives utilizing the scheme would revolutionize the way healthcare delivery takes place in rural areas.

Cooperatives

  • Definition:
    • According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.
  • Related Provisions of Indian Constitution:
    • The Constitution (97th Amendment) Act, 2011 added a new Part IXB right after Part IXA (Municipals) regarding the cooperatives working in India.
    • The word “cooperatives” was added after “unions and associations” in Article 19(1)(c) under Part III of the Constitution. This enables all the citizens to form cooperatives by giving it the status of fundamental right of citizens.
    • A new Article 43B was added in the Directive Principles of State Policy (Part IV) regarding the “promotion of cooperative societies”.

Source: PIB

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