Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN)
Earlier known as National Illness Assistance Fund, Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (राष्ट्रीय आरोग्य निधि) is a centrally sponsored scheme set up a fund under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in 1997 with an aim to provide for financial assistance to patients, living below poverty line who are suffering from major life threatening diseases, to receive medical treatment at any of the super specialty hospitals/institutes or other Govt. hospitals. In this scheme, the states financial assistance to BPL patients suffering from life threatening diseases is released in the form of “one time grant” to the Medical Superintendent of the hospital in which the treatment is being received. Please note that in this scheme, the states are needed to create their own State Illness funds in which central government provides funding to the extent of 50% of contribution made by State Govt/Union Territories.
Accordingly, several states have launched their own funds such as
- Odisha created State Treatment Fund (STF) in which Union government will pay Rs. 10 crore and State government contributes Rs. 5 crore annually to the fund.
- Uttar Pradesh created a Rajya Arogya Nidhi, renamed “Mukhya Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Kosh (Arogya Nidhi) in 2008.
- Please note that all states have not yet set up the state illness fund.
Conditions of Financial Assistance
- Please note that Assistance in RAN is not directly provided to the Patient but is given to the Superintendent of the hospital in which treatment is being taken.
- Assistance admissible for treatment in Government Hospital only.
- Central Government/State Government/P.SU employees NOT eligible.
- While the state government can grant up to Rs 1.5 lakh after the case is assessed by a technical committee constituted at the health directorate level, if there is a cost estimated above than that, the proposal for grant is to be sent to the Centre for sanction.
- For providing financial assistance to the needy patients, an advanced of Rs.10.00 to 40.0 lakhs is kept with the Medical Supdts of major national hospitals across the country. These hospitals can enable sanction of an amount up to Rs.5,00,000/- in each deserving case reporting for treatment in the respective Hospitals/ Institute.
- The cases for financial assistance beyond Rs. 5 lakh/patient would now be required to be referred to Health Ministry.
This is one of the most novel schemes of the Government of India but it craves for publicity. In a recent revelation by CAG report, in Punjab only 41 BPL patients have benefited from the RAN for healthcare during 2011. The fact that there seems to be no takers in the state for the centrally sponsored healthcare scheme for below poverty line families as revealed. The report says the ineffective implementation of the national policy for the benefit of the BPL families and the failures of the state government to publicize the benefits of the scheme have resulted in misuse of Fund.
The audit report has also raised a serious doubt over the functioning of government medical colleges and hospital for other states too which is yet to be studied.