New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said the Centre and state governments need to come together for providing better healthcare to the people and proper utilisation of resources.

"We are running the Ayushman Bharat scheme while the states also have their own schemes. The Centre and the states need to merge the health schemes so that the merged resources start benefiting the patient", Jaitley said at the 15th Health Summit by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

"If we have a federal institution, its essentially a welfare issue. Every state stands to benefit if a federal institution comes up. If it can be done for the GST then doing it for the healthcare sector should be of least resistance", he said.

The Finance Minister added that the Centre has increased revenue for the healthcare sector every year but the challenge remains proper implementation of funds.

"Central revenues have increased. We have funds, but the challenge is implementing. Even though health predominantly was in the domain of the state governments, it was never a top priority in many states. Build at least three healthcare institutes in every district and let the states handle it," he said.

Jaitley noted that the opening up of the domestic market post 1991 has improved the condition of healthcare, especially in the sector of insurance. The government has also taken important steps in that direction, like opening up of the insurance sector to foreign direct investment.

"Today when we look back, public and private partnership growth has been satisfactory but needs to be faster, considering the population we have. Healthcare and insurance run simultaneously. Central government employees have their schemes so do the state ones. The others went to healthcare schemes which are also picking up," he said.

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