‘Govt. scheme boosts health infra spend’

The government’s health insurance scheme has catalysed a major private investment cycle in healthcare infrastructure, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday.

Chairing the first meeting of BRICS countries’ Finance Ministers and central bank governors with Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das, Ms. Sitharaman mooted greater co-ordination among BRICS member countries on the review of quotas in the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Before spelling out the thematic priorities for the New Development Bank, the multilateral lender backed by BRICS countries, the Minister said: “The Prime Minister’s health insurance scheme, using an output-based funding model, has triggered a major private investment cycle in healthcare infrastructure, enabling significant expansion of healthcare services to vulnerable citizens.”

Emphasising the importance of BRICS in responding to the COVID-19 crisis through policy support and enhancing international coordination, Ms. Sitharaman highlighted the merit in engaging with private sector and exploring innovative financing models.

“Efforts should be made towards delivering outcomes that reflects the needs and aspirations of BRICS in particular and emerging markets and developing economies in general,” she said.

As the 2021 BRICS Chair, India’s approach is focused on strengthening intra-BRICS cooperation based on continuity, consolidation and consensus, the Finance Ministry said, adding that the financial cooperation agenda set by India was discussed at the meeting.

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