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.
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.