Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN)
Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) (formerly National Illness Assistance Fund, set up on 13.01.1997, with an initial contribution of Rs.5 crore made by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare) provides financial assistance to patients who are living below poverty line and suffering from major life threatening diseases related to inter-alia, heart, liver, kidney and for cancer, etc., to receive medical treatment at any of the 12 super specialty Government hospitals / institutes or other Government hospitals.
Under RAN, a revolving fund has been set up in 12 hospitals for financial assistance upto ceiling of Rs 2 lakhs per patient (Rs 5 lakh for emergency cases), so as to curtail the procedural delay for treatment. For assistance beyond Rs 2 lakhs (5 lakhs), the matter has to be referred to the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. Upto Rs. 10 Lakh can be sanctioned to one patient, subject to approvals by the technical committee of RAN.
Reimbursement of medical expenditure already incurred by the patients is not permissible under RAN.
Further, no grant/assistance is released to patients seeking treatment at private hospitals. Diseases of common nature and disease for which treatment is available free of cost under other health Scheme/programme of the Government are also not eligible for grants under RAN.
For poor patients suffering from life threatening diseases, where time is at a premium, such a fund is expected to facilitate early commencement of treatment and cut down procedural delay.
Sources of Fund
Apart from the initial contribution made by the Ministry of Health and Family welfare, the Fund could also be subscribed to by individuals, corporate bodies in private or public sector, philanthropic organizations etc. either in India or abroad (but with the approvals as required under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act).
All contributions made to RAN by resident entities are exempted from payment of income tax (under Section 80-G Income Tax Act 1961).
Utilisation of Fund
Funds under RAN are managed by a Management Committee.
The financial assistance to deserving patients are released in the form of ‘one-time grant’, which is released to the Medical Supdt. of the Government Hospital/institute in which the patient is receiving treatment.
For this purpose, Revolving Funds have been set up in 12 Central Government hospitals/institutes and an amount up to Rs. 50 lakh is placed at their disposal for providing financial assistance. Being a revolving fund, it is replenished as and when the utilisation certificates and documents, as specified, are received from the Hospital/Institute for the funds released earlier.
On 26 October 2015, Government enhanced the financial powers delegated to designated Central Government hospitals/institutes from Rs. 2 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh for providing financial assistance in cases where emergency surgery is to be conducted. Hence, only cases for financial assistance beyond Rs. 5 lakh would now be required to be referred to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
State Illness Assistance Fund
All State Govts./Union territories (UT) Administrations have been advised (vide Ministry of Health & Family Welfare letter dated 11/11/96) to set up an Illness Assistance Fund in their respective States/UTs. Grant-in-aid from Central Government is released to each of these States/UTs (with Legislature) where such Funds are set up.
This Grant-in-aid to States/UTs (with Legislature) is to the extent of 50% of the contributions made by the State Govts./UTs to the State Fund/Society subject to a maximum of Rs. 5 crores to States with larger number and percentage of population below poverty line viz. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal and Rs. 2 crores to other States/UTs. Those Union Territories without legislatures receive Rs. 50 lakh as assistance.State Illness Assistance Funds have been set up in all States/UTs (with Legislature), except Meghalaya and Nagaland, as in October 2015.
The Illness Assistance Fund at the State/UT level would release financial assistance to patients living in their respective States/UT up to Rs. 1.50 lakh in individual cases. Where quantum of assistance sought is more than Rs.1.50 lakh, all such cases are to be forwarded to the Central Government.
Background of RAN
The Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development in their 31st Report on the functioning of the Central Government Hospitals under the Department of Health, had expressed concerns about inadequate facilities for the treatment of poor patients for major illness. The committee felt that it was essential to explore all appropriate sources of funds to assist poor patients coming to AIIMS or other Central Govt. Hospitals for their treatment of specific life threatening illness. In view of the recommendations of the above Committee, it was decided to set up a National Illness Assistance Fund, which got renamed as Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) under the Department of Health, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. The Committee on non-Plan Expenditure in its meeting held on 17 October 1996 approved the proposal for setting up of the fund. Accordingly the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) has been set up vide Resolution No. F-7-2/96-Fin-II dated 13/1/97 as published in the Gazette of India (Extraordinary) and has been registered under the Society Registration Act, 1860, as an autonomous Society.
Other Schemes for treatment within the scope of RAN
The Government also provides financial assistance through the Health Minister’s Cancer Patient Fund (HMCPF) set up for providing financial assistance to the tune of Rs. 2 lakh to the poor patients suffering from cancer and having treatment in the 27 Regional Cancer Centres (RCC) in India. It was set up in 2009 as a separate corpus fund within RAN to be managed through the Management and Technical Committees of the RAN. Like RAN, revolving funds have been set up in these RCCs by placing an amount upto Rs. 50 lakh, for providing financial assistance for treatment upto Rs. 2 lakh. Cases involving expenditure over and above the stipulated limit, are referred to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Funds to the RCCs are released on submission of utilization certificate and list of beneficiaries in respect of funds released to them earlier.
An amount of Rs. 100 crore has been placed into the Corpus Fund and the earning from the Corpus Fund accrued out of interest is utilized for providing financial assistance to cancer patients; i.e, the earning from the corpus – i.e., interest from the corpus fund - would not be used for meeting the administrative expenses of the corpus fund.
Financial assistance is also available under the Health Minister’s Discretionary Grant (HMDG) to patients having family annual income up to Rs.1,00,000/- and below to defray a part of the expenditure on hospitalization/treatment in Government Hospitals, in cases where free medical facilities are not available.
The list of beneficiaries under RAN is displayed at the website of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (under the head “Major Programmes”). As per the press release dated 27 October 2015, around 37063 poor patients have so far benefited from the above three Schemes.
Allocation of funds to RAN / actual expenditure may be seen from the Expenditure Budget pertaining to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
More details on application forms, list of hospitals eligible under RAN, list of potentially eligible diseases, state level poverty lines for the relevant year etc. may be accessed from the site of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- FAQ on RAN
- Guideline on RAN for the year 2014-15
- Reply to the Parliament Question on RAN dated 12 May 2015