Healthcare in India - statistics & facts

With the second largest population in the world, India is predicted to surpass the population of China in the next forty years. An increase in life expectancy and a gradually reducing death rate over the years have actively contributed to the increasing population. In an effort to cope with this growth, public health expenditure has been on a rise since 2014, with an increasing share of the country’s GDP being distributed towards public health care. An estimated 1.6 trillion Indian rupees were spent on public healthcare in the year 2018.

As of 2017, the evaluation of the healthcare market of India amounted to approximately 160 billion U.S. dollars and was expected to be 370 billion U.S. dollars by 2022. However, the healthcare system is dominated significantly by private healthcare. Private health outnumbers public health in most aspects, including numbers of hospitals, hospital beds, and doctors.

Owing to these circumstances, the government proposed a system of universal healthcare in 2015. However, monetary concerns resulted in the withdrawal of the implementation of universal healthcare. With millions of Indians driven towards out-of-pocket health expenses, the government launched the Prime Minister Jan Arogya Yojna (PM-JAY) in September 2018 - aimed at providing secondary and tertiary care to the estimated lower 40 percent of the population free of charge.

The PM-JAY constitutes one half of the flagship scheme Ayushman Bharat, a government initiative recommended under the National Health Policy of 2017. By 2020, PM-JAY registered the second largest share of expenditure by the National Health Mission. PM-JAY, earlier called National Health Protection Scheme, subsumed the responsibilities of the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY). This meant the expenditure under RSBY was also covered under PM-JAY and members were covered for all benefits including pre-existing conditions.

With the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in early 2020, India recorded its first case on January 30. By June 2020, the number confirmed cases accumulated to approximately 800 thousand. Various public and private testing centers were designated to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. Precautionary measures included implementing the largest lockdown in the world and later dividing districts into red, orange and green zones. The pandemic shed light on India’s fragile and inadequate health infrastructure, along with a multi-dimensional impact on the economy. As of early July 2020, the country stood third globally in terms of the number of confirmed cases.

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Healthcare in India

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