Ayushman Sahakar Yojana is a unique scheme to assist the Cooperatives to play an important role in creating a healthcare infrastructure in India. The cooperative movement in recent years in India has emerged as an effective people’s movement to achieve the socio-economic transformation of the rural areas with the target to alleviate poverty in rural areas. The cooperative movement has been in existence for more than 100 years and consequently covered 100 percent of villages and 71 percent of rural households that have managed to develop more than 5 lakh cooperative societies in various sectors of the Indian economy.
The cooperatives have been established in various segments of the Indian economy including credit and banking, sugar, marketing, fertilizers, handlooms, handicrafts, etc. The dairy cooperatives have played the most important role in the Milk Revolution of India. The cooperatives have reached extensively and they are now considered an important organization to make collaborations by the public and profit-oriented private enterprises.
Cooperation is defined as a system of social organization based on the principle of unity, economy, democracy, equity, and liberty. The government has launched different schemes to tackle health problems in India. However, the governmental benefits have not yielded the desired results and not reached the grass-root level as rural health care is marked by the absence of doctors, health workers, low levels of skills, medicinal shortage, inadequate supervision, etc. the Government of India has introduced a seven-year National Rural Health Mission intending to address the problems prevalent in the rural primary health sector.
In the wake of this, the Union Health Minister has introduced the Ayushman Sahakar Yojana to explore the potential of the cooperatives in the field of health and to examine how they can play an effective role in promoting the health of the Indian rural population.
”National Health Policy marks the historic moment in our endeavor to create a healthy India where everyone has access to quality healthcare”, Shri Narendra Modi.
The concept of cooperation is not new to India, it has been in existence for ages and they have been formed to secure low-cost credit, purchase supplies and types of equipment for household needs and farming, marketing of products, to secure services like power, irrigation, health, and insurance. The cooperative means isolated cooperation of powerless individuals combined to achieve the advantages available to the rich and powerful. It is characterized by a business organization owned by those who use its services, whose control rests equally with all the members of the cooperatives. There is a recognition of social, educational, and community values as it creates a voluntary and democratic organization.
The Ayushman Sahakar Yojana is formulated by the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) which is an apex autonomous development finance institution. The National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) works under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers welfare which aims to give a boost to the provisions of the healthcare sector by the cooperatives. The Ayushman Sahakar Scheme will cover establishment, expansion, repairs, modernization, and renovation of hospital and healthcare and education infrastructure in rural India.
Due to the lack of proper infrastructure in the rural health sector in India, there is a huge need for enhancing medical and nursing education in rural areas. The cooperatives in India find it difficult to access the credit for establishing their projects as the banks refuse to finance their set-up for non-agricultural purposes.
NCDC (National Cooperative Development Corporation)
The National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) is an apex autonomous body that has been established by the Government of India under the Act of Parliament, 1963. The NCDC has been created for planning and promoting programs for the production, processing, storage, marketing, export-import of the agricultural produce, industrial kinds of stuff, livestock, other goods and services like hospital, healthcare, and education, etc. The NCDC runs on the cooperative principles to extend financial aid to the cooperatives at all three tiers that are, Primary, District, and Multi-state. The NCDC is a financial powerhouse working under the administrative control of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India. It is the most preferred financial institution for cooperatives.
Ayushman Sahakar Yojana was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15th August 2020 to bring a revolution in the Indian health sector and to enhance the use of technology in helping reduce the problems in getting treatment. To align itself with the National Health Policy, 2017 the Ayushman Sahakar Yojana will help in shaping the health sector in all dimensions including investments, organizing health care services, disease prevention, promoting good health through cross-sectoral actions, technological access, human resource development, and provide health care services to all at an affordable price. Following are the objectives of the Ayushman Sahakar Yojana;
To create, modernize, expand, repair, and renovate hospitals, healthcare, and education infrastructure covers the following areas-
All types of Infrastructure for:
2. Margin Money
The margin money to raise the working capital that is required for day to day operations concerning those mentioned above.
3. Working Capital for Day-to-Day Operations.
Interested beneficiaries of the nation, who want to apply online under this Ayushman Sahakar Yojana scheme, then follow the method given below.
Step 1 – First of all, you need to visit the official website of the National Cooperative Development Corporation. After hitting the official website, the home page will unroll in front of you.
Step 2 – On the home page, scroll down, and you will see the option of Common Loan Application Form. You have to click on this option. After clicking on the Common Loan Application option, the next page will appear on the screen.
Step 3 – You will have to select all the information asked on this page as the activity/purpose of the loan, type of loan, etc.
Step 4 – After filling in all the information, you have to click on the submit button. In this way, you will fill the form.
To obtain the benefits of the Ayushman Sahakar Yojana, the Cooperative society must be registered under any State, Multi-State Cooperatives Societies Act in India, covering the suitable provisions in the bye-laws to undertake hospital, healthcare-related services, and education.
The NCDC will assist either through the State Government, Union Territory Administration or directly to the cooperatives which fulfill the guidelines of NCDC Direct Funding.
The project cost will be as per the actual requirement. The loan period will be for 8 years, including 1-2 years moratorium on repayment of the principal which depends upon the types of projects and their revenue-generating abilities.
The circular for the interest rates will be amended from time to time by NCDC. NCDC will provide an incentive of one percent less than the applicable rate of interest on the term loan for conducting the project activities. Such interest rates will be provided in the case of the borrower cooperative societies consisting of women members in the majority for the entire tenure of the loan if timely repayments are made by them.
NCDC assists the cooperatives either through the State Government or under Direct Funding. The cooperative society, in case of the direct funding, may offer security or the loan in any one or combination of the following:
The emergence of the COVID pandemic has brought into focus the urgent need to give a boost to the healthcare sector in Rural India. The Ayushman Sahakar Yojana offers easy access to low-interest loans to the cooperatives and start-ups that are willing to venture into an arrangement of health-related services that will ensure last-mile delivery of the healthcare services across the country.
The cooperatives are already laying a major role in enhancing various sectors and have given the greatest boost to the healthcare sector of India. So far, NCDC has financed a few hospitals which are being run by the cooperatives across the country. The idea behind launching the Ayushman Sahakar Yojana is to expand the umbrella especially at the times like this when there is an imminent need to strengthen the healthcare facilities in rural India in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Our Organization Aatmnirbhar Sena is constantly aiding the cooperatives in the healthcare sector and filling the gaps existing in the system of health sectors. The cooperatives have the potential in improving the socio-economic conditions of the country and they have emerged as key players for improving the health scenario of India. Thus, it is high time that the cooperative policymakers should make policies and strategies for devising the health policies in such a way as to achieve the clear cut vision of building the image of the cooperative sector in India.