National Health Authority gets cabinet nod

Central Government cleared the constitution of a National Health Authority (NHA) through an executive order, thus taking the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) out of the ambit of the Ministry of Health. The ministry’s role will now be limited to acting as the nodal ministry for NHA in parliamentary matters, like the presentation of annual reports.

The NHA’s governing board will be chaired by the Minister for Health and Family Welfare, while its members will include NITI Aayog CEO and NHA CEO. The move, according to officials, was necessary for seamless implementation of the health programme that is being personally monitored by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Under the aegis of the governing board, the CEO — a post currently held by Dr Indu Bhushan — will have complete administrative control of the NHA.

“We are humbled by the faith reposed by the Cabinet in according the status of an Authority to the National Health Agency. We reaffirm our commitment to realise the ambitious vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister,” said Dr Bhushan.

The board will meet at least once in three months. The proposal envisages statutory backing for NHA eventually. Till then, it will be an adjunct office of the ministry — like the department of health research — with complete functional autonomy. The original plan was to have the NHA report to NITI Aayog, which had moved the Cabinet proposal, but that has now changed.