India’s goal of achieving UHC by 2030 is ambitious for such a populous and varied country, but it has the technical expertise and other strengths to achieve it.
So far, the country’s UHC service coverage is 61% – approximately double the coverage of two decades ago (31%). But there are significant differences between states and widespread challenges to further progress, including funding, efficiency and staffing issues.
Health financing remains one of the biggest obstacles. Despite the scale and growth of the country’s economy, India spends just 2.96% of its GDP on health, substantially below the average for low-income countries (4.99%) and sub-Saharan Africa (4.92%). As a result, the country’s out-of-pocket-expenditure on health is one of the highest in the world. According to one study, over 63 million people are pushed into poverty every year due to health care costs.
To address this problem, the Government of India introduced the Pradhan Mantri – Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) insurance scheme in 2018, as part of the Ayushman Bharat initiative. This includes establishing 150,000 Health and Wellness Centres across the country and annual inpatient cover of 500,000 rupees (USD 7,210) per family for 107 million families (more than 500 million people) for most of the secondary and tertiary care conditions. This makes the scheme the largest fully Government-funded health insurance programme in the world.
UHC service coverage index: 61%
Physicians per 1,000 population: 0.7
Catastrophic expenditure: 17.3%
Type of Support
- L4UHC Modules
- Collective Action Initiatives
- National coach
- National Health Mission Kerala
- State Health Agency Kerala
- National Health Authority
- National Health Authority Telangana
- State Health Agency Jammu Kashmir
- Employees’ State Insurance Corporation
German Development Cooperation
US Agency for International Development
World Health Organization
Amit Paliwal (GIZ)
Ongoing Collective Action Initiatives
The programme has brought together a variety of key stakeholders for advancing UHC from three states (Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Punjab), the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir, and the National Health Authority (NHA). Each of the five teams is currently assessing which Collective Action Initiatives to focus on.