The Union Cabinet in India has approved 10% reservation in jobs and educational institutions for the economically weak sections (EWS) in the general category. This reservation will be over and above the existing 50% reservation.
The reservation benefit can be availed by those whose annual incomes are below Rs 8 Lakh and have up to 5 acres of land.
Other eligibility criteria are: A residential house should be below 1000 sq ft; the residential plot should be below 100 yards in notified municipality and/or the residential plot below 200 yards should be in a non-notified municipality area
For this, the government will amend Article 15 and 16 of the Constitution of India, 1950.
The Government is bringing this reservation only in jobs and educational institutions as of now. But if this reservation extends to the health sector, then in one way there will be no poor patients.
Those who are below the poverty line will be covered by Ayushman Bharat and the additional 10% from the general category or the middle and upper class group will also get entitled to free or subsidised Healthcare through the government route.
Those whose monthly income is less than Rs 20,000/- are covered under ESI Insurance Scheme and those who are not covered under ESI are covered under Ayushman Bharat. And with coverage of another 10% of EWS, the only persons left would be those who will be able to afford their own medical and health insurance.
With this, it will be possible to achieve 100% National Health Insurance in the country and affordable health care and thence to universal health coverage.
On the other hand, people can debate against the scheme by saying that this move will leave fewer seats in the general category for medical education, nursing education, dental education, which may lead to more corruption and only rich people going to the private sector education.
Such policies and schemes of the government are necessary and important as far as health of the public is concerned. It is important in our country where health is neglected by majority of people due to non-availability of money and insurance schemes.
Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri Awardee
President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)
Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India
Past National President IMA