Govt rolls out scheme to promote cooperative funding of healthcare infra-Business Journal

He also asked existing cooperatives to take up healthcare services as an activity for farmers.

The government has rolled out a special funding scheme, Ayushman Sahakar, for the cooperatives to set up healthcare facilities including hospitals and medical colleges under which credit up to 90% of the project costs will be provided by National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC). The tenure of the loan will be for eight years, including one-two years moratorium on repayment of principal, depending on the type of project and its ability to generate revenue.

Launching the scheme on Monday, minister of state for agriculture Parshottam Rupala said NCDC would extend term loans to prospective cooperatives to the tune of `10,000 crore in the coming years. Rupala said that the ongoing pandemic has brought into focus the requirement of creation of more facilities and the NCDC’s scheme will be a step towards strengthening farmers welfare activities by the government. He also asked existing cooperatives to take up healthcare services as an activity for farmers.

There are about 52 hospitals across the country run by cooperatives, having cumulative bed strength of more than 5,000. The fund would give a boost to the provision of healthcare services by these cooperatives as well, said Sundeep Nayak, managing director of NCDC.

Any cooperative society with a suitable provision in its bylaws to undertake healthcare-related activities would be able to access the NCDC fund. The credit disbursal will be to the tune of 90% of the project costs in the case through the state government and up to 70% if directly to the cooperatives. Subsidy/grant from other sources can be dovetailed, the agriculture ministry said in a statement. The scheme provides interest subvention of 1% to women majority cooperatives.

In case of direct funding, the cooperative society may offer security for the loan either by mortgage of assets, including assets to be created under the project, to the extent of 1.5 times of NCDC loan or guarantee by the State/Central government. Pledge of FDRs of scheduled banks/ nationalised banks, to the extent of 1.2 times of loan is also accepted by NCDC.

Ayushman Sahakar specifically covers establishment, modernisation, expansion, repairs, renovation of hospital and healthcare and education infrastructure encompassing: hospitals, medical/AYUSH/dental/nursing/pharmacy/paramedical/physiotherapy colleges for running undergraduate or post-graduate programmes. Cooperatives can also avail loans to set up yoga wellness centres, specialised healthcare services for elderly and others, trauma centres, etc.

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