NEW DELHI: The Health Minister’s Cancer Patient Fund (HMCPF) within the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) has a reduction by 50 per cent of funds allocated to the scheme in the year 2019- 2020, reveals a government response to an RTI petition.
The reply under the Right to Information query filed by activist Vivek Pandey stated that Rs 50 crore was sanctioned for the cancer patient beneficiary scheme last year. It had, however, been cut by half from previous years. From the period 2014 till 2019, the government had created a corpus fund of Rs 100 crore for HMCPF, it stated.
The RTI also mentioned that there has been a sharp decline in the number of beneficiaries availing the scheme. While in 2014-15, 6,408 patients were benefitted, in 2019- 20, only 275 people availed of the fund. The number of patients was 5,635 in the year 2015-16, 3,109 in 2016-17, 3,934 in the following year and 1,773 in 2018-19.
Beneficiaries are patients suffering from cancer and living below poverty line. Set up in 2009, HMCPF has been established in 27 Regional Cancer Centres (RCCs). The financial assistance to a cancer patient up to Rs 2 lakh is processed by the RCC. The HMCPF grant would not be used where treatment /facilities for cancer treatment are available free of cost.
Individual cases, which require assistance of more than Rs 2 lakh, are to be sent to the Ministry for processing. Revolving funds have been created in all the 27 RCCs and funds up to Rs 50 lakh will be placed at their disposal. To avail financial assistance, patients have to submit documents including copies of income certificate and ration card.