The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for closure of Autonomous Bodies, namely, Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) and Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK) and the functions are proposed to be vested in Department of Health & Family Welfare (DoHFW).
The decision comes cased on the recommendations of Expenditure Management Commission, NITI Aayog, which had undertaken a review of the 19 Autonomous Bodies, under the DoHFW, that have been formed under Societies Registration Act, 1860 (SRA)
The main concern of the Government is that ABs are required to be reviewed and rationalised with a view to improving their outcomes, effectiveness and efficiency, utilisation of financial and human resources, synergy, governance and relevance in current policy and programme context, with improved monitoring and oversight. The Committee had recommended closure of RAN and JSK and their functions to be vested in the Ministry.
Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) was set up as a registered society to provide financial medical assistance to poor patients receiving treatment in designated central government hospitals. An advance is placed with the Medical Superintendents of such hospitals who then provide assistance on a case by case basis. Since the DoHFW provides funds to the hospitals, the grants can be given from the Department to the hospital directly. RAN functions can, therefore, be vested in DoHFW.
In addition to this, Health Minister’s Cancer Patient Fund (HMCPF) shall also be transferred to the Department. The timeline required for this is one year.
Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK) was set up with a corpus grant of Rs.100 crores in the year 2003 to raise awareness for population stabilization strategies. JSK organizes various activities with target populations as a part of its mandate. There has been no continuous funding to JSK from the Ministry. Population stabilization strategies require private and corporate funding, which can be accessed through JSK. Although JSK will continue to play a significant role in population stabilization strategies, its existence as an Autonomous Body is not necessary. Hence, JSK as an Autonomous Body can be closed as it can be administered by the Department as a fund.
The rationalization of Autonomous Bodies under Department of Health & Family Welfare involve inter-ministerial consultations and review of existing bye-laws of these bodies. The timeframe for implementation is one year