TAD NewsDesk, New Delhi: As an initiative to benefit healthcare infrastructure, National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) has announced a ₹10,000-cr scheme for Agricultural cooperatives. It would help develop healthcare infrastructure, which is the primary need of the country.
Over the last three months, the effect of the pandemic has started impacting the rural areas more than the cities. And this pandemic has brought to attention the urgent requirement for creation of more healthcare facilitation units for the benefit of the people, said Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister of State for Agriculture at the launch of the scheme.
NCDC is an autonomous institution under the Agriculture Ministry. It rolled out the Ayushman Sahakar scheme, under which they would extend the term loans worth ₹10,000 crore to different cooperatives in the next five years.
In a report published in The Hindu, Sundeep Nayak, Managing Director of NCDC said,
“Our primary motivation is access to healthcare for farmers in rural areas. That driving spirit gets amplified because of COVID-19. The pandemic has re-emphasized the gaps in healthcare in the country.”
Currently, there are 52 hospitals operated by cooperatives across the country. They combine to facilitate a total of 5000 beds, said Mr. Nayak.
Some of the significant advantages of the scheme are:
- To set up primary health centres.
- It could also support medical education, diagnostic services, pharmaceutical businesses, blood banks, telemedicine or even wellness centres.
- Both allopathic and AYUSH-related projects are eligible to apply.
- Employment generation in rural areas.
- Extra benefit of 1% interest subvention to women majority cooperatives.
Mr. Nayak also added,
“There is a huge need for medical and nursing education in rural areas. But the problem is a lack of infrastructure. Co-ops find it difficult to access credit for such projects as banks may not give them loans for non-agricultural purposes.”
The NCDC disbursed over ₹28,000 crore of loans to cooperatives last year without any support or aid or grant by the government. It depends solely on the market for raising money.