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Indian Health Ministry inks MoU with Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for telemedicine initiative

Indian Health Ministry inks MoU with Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for telemedicine initiative

The National Health Agency (NHA)
under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to provide information and eligibility validation services to
beneficiaries, especially in remote areas in the country.

According to a press
statement
released by the Ministry of Electronics
and Information Technology, the MoU intends to implement the National
Health Protection Mission Ayushman Bharat
(AB-NHPM) scheme through 300,00 Common Service Centres (CSCs) in India.

The NHA is the apex body that is
responsible for the implementation of the National Health Protection Mission,
and Common Service Centres scheme under the Digital India Initiative.

The Digital India initiative that was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July 2015, is a
flagship programme of the Government of India with a vision to transform India
into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

CSCs function as access points for
the delivery of various digital
services 
to citizens including banking,
education, health services and passport and unique identification number (Aadhaar) registration. The CSCs also
provide access to online government services such as booking train tickets,
submission of forms and bills etc. CSCs have played an important role in
shaping a new economic model for rural India.

The National Health Protection Scheme
is expected to cover over 100 million poor and vulnerable families
(approximately 50 million beneficiaries) providing coverage of up to around US
$7,287 (per family per year) for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.

CSCs are physical facilities to
deliver government e-services to rural and remote areas where computer devices
and online resources are not easily accessible.

They are a multiple-services-single-point
model designed to provide facilities for multiple transactions at a single
geographical location. As the benefits under the AB-NHPM were based on
entitlement and not on enrolment, the CSCs spread across rural India have the
potential to become the key point of information for possible beneficiaries and
help to validate their entitlement.  The beneficiaries under the scheme
can avail services anywhere in India and it is expected to bring a visible
relief to its target families.

The MoU was signed by Dr Indu
Bhushan, CEO, National Health Agency (NHA) and Dr Dinesh Tyagi, CEO, Common Service
Centre-Special Vehicle. Mr Jagat Prakash Nadda, Minister of Health and Family
Welfare and Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Law and Justice &
Information Technology were present at the signing.

The press
statement
released by the Ministry of Health
and Family Welfare quoted Mr Jagat Prakash Nadda saying that through the MoU,
Digital India is taking a big leap forwards and the National Health Protection
Mission will be able to benefit 550 million people across the country. The 300,000
CSCs in 250,000 village councils in the country will help in the implementation of the
scheme.

Dr Indu Bhushan noted that the
collaboration will not only create more accessibility and transparency in the
beneficiary validation process but will also spread awareness among the targeted
beneficiaries. The network of CSCs is the cornerstone of Digital India and they
will provide support to the flagship mission to build a healthy India.

The National Health Protection
Mission targets approximately 107.4 million deprived families and has
identified the occupational category of urban workers’ families as per the
latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data, for both rural and urban India.
The CSC scheme will provide access to the Beneficiary Identification System
(BIS), which confirms application from entitled beneficiaries using SECC and National Health Insurance Scheme (Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana)
databases.

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