Global Resources

Health financing and delivery in India: an overview of selected schemes

Author: K. Jain
Publisher: Women in Informal Employment Globalizing and Organizing
Publication Date: Jun 2013

In recent years, the government of India has made attempts to address its notorious health inequities by providing health protection to poor and vulnerable citizens. This paper presents an overview of India’s health care system and some key demographic indicators. Then, the paper analyses some of India’s most prominent health protection schemes, from the perspective of poor informal women workers. The analysis addresses the following issues: inclusiveness and access for informal workers; the quality of services being provided; awareness of the scheme among its intended beneficiaries; the scheme’s impact on reducing out-of-pocket expenditure on health care; and the scheme’s ability to provide access to women. 

The study finds that health schemes that are rooted in highly unequal societies are likely to reproduce that inequality. However, it is also finds that the institutional reproduction of inequality can to some extent be mitigated if health schemes are integrated into programmes that seek to improve living and working conditions more generally. The paper argues that without a comprehensive approach to raising the living standards of poor workers, including the provision of primary healthcare and preventive health services, health inequities are unlikely to decline. 

Adapted from author’s summary.