Indian Express Editorial Summary

Topic-1 : National Health Policy (NHP) 2017: A System on the Rise

GS-3 : Economy

Revision Notes

Question : Discuss the significance of the National Health Policy 2017 in achieving universal access to quality and affordable healthcare in India. Highlight the key objectives and challenges associated with its implementation.

Key Points:

  • NHP 2017 aims for universal access to quality and affordable healthcare.
  • Government health expenditure (GHE) as a proportion of GDP has increased significantly:
    • 63% increase between 2014-15 and 2021-22.
    • From 1.13% of GDP in 2014-15 to 1.84% in 2021-22.
    • Per capita GHE nearly tripled from Rs 1,108 to Rs 3,156 in the same period.
  • Expenditure on government-financed insurance has grown 4.4 fold:
    • From Rs 4,757 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 20,771 crore in 2021-22.
    • Reflects investments in Ayushman Bharat and state health insurance schemes.
  • Out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE) as a share of total health expenditure has declined:
    • Dropped from 62.6% to 47.1% between 2014-15 and 2019-20.
    • Further dipped to 39.4% in 2021-22, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Factors Reducing Out-of-Pocket Expenditure (OOPE) in India

  • Reduced reliance on private healthcare: AB-PMJAY beneficiaries avoid borrowing or selling assets for treatment (serious conditions, cancer included).
  • Increased utilization of government facilities: National Sample Survey (2017-18) shows rise in using government hospitals for inpatient care and deliveries.
  • Free ambulance services, strengthened government healthcare: Initiatives like Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme (2.59 crore free sessions since 2016) contribute to reducing OOPE.
  • Lower drug and diagnostics costs:
    • Free services at Ayushman Arogya Mandirs (AAMs) lead to significant savings:
      • Sub-centre AAMs: 105 free medicines, 14 free diagnostic tests
      • Primary health centre AAMs: 172 free medicines, 63 free diagnostic tests
    • Early disease detection and treatment at AAMs helps prevent future high-cost complications.
    • Jan Aushadhi Kendras: Over 1900 generic medicines and surgical items at low cost across districts. Estimated savings of Rs 28,000 crore since 2014.
    • Price regulation of essential medicines: Savings of Rs 27,000 crore per year for citizens.

Growing Investment in Social Determinants of Health

  • Safe drinking water and sanitation:
    • Jal Jeevan Mission (2019): Increased access to tap water in rural households (17% to 76%).
    • WHO estimates: Tap water access can save 4 lakh lives over 5 years.
    • Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Grameen: Rural India declared Open Defecation Free (ODF).
    • WHO estimates: SBM Grameen averted over 3 lakh deaths (diarrhoea, malnutrition) between 2014-2019.
  • Strengthening healthcare infrastructure:
    • Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (medical colleges, AIIMS).
    • Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Infrastructure Mission.
    • Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package (pediatric, adult ICU development).
    • 15th Finance Commission health grants to local bodies (Rs 70,000 crore).

Conclusion: Increased government funding for health and reduced OOPE indicate positive steps towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in India.


Indian Express Editorial Summary

Topic-2 : US Fed Holds Rates Steady 

GS-3 : Economy

Revision Notes


Basic Concept :

The US Federal Reserve (Fed) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) are the central banks of their respective countries, responsible for managing the money supply and influencing economic activity. Their primary tool for achieving this is setting interest rates.

Interest Rates:

  • Interest rate is the fee that banks charge borrowers and the interest they pay to depositors.
  • A higher interest rate discourages borrowing and encourages saving.
  • A lower interest rate encourages borrowing and discourages saving.

Impact of Interest Rate Changes:

  • Fed Rate Cuts:
    • Stimulates the Economy: Lower borrowing costs make it easier for businesses and individuals to take out loans, invest, and spend more. This can boost economic growth.
    • Weakens the Dollar: Lower rates make US investments less attractive compared to other countries, weakening the US dollar. This can make US exports cheaper and imports more expensive.
  • Fed Rate Hikes:
    • Cools the Economy: Higher borrowing costs slow down economic activity by making loans more expensive. This can help control inflation.
    • Strengthens the Dollar: Higher rates make US investments more attractive, strengthening the US dollar.

RBI Rate Cuts:

  • Similar effects as Fed rate cuts:
    • Stimulates economic growth by encouraging borrowing and investment.
    • May weaken the Indian Rupee.
  • Additional factors for RBI:
    • RBI also considers inflation when setting rates.
    • Rate cuts may be used to control inflation if it falls below the target range.

RBI Rate Hikes:

  • Similar effects as Fed rate hikes:
    • Cools the economy by discouraging borrowing and investment.
    • May strengthen the Indian Rupee.
    • Primarily used to control inflation if it rises above the target range.


Imagine you want to start a business. Lower interest rates from the Fed or RBI would make it cheaper for you to borrow money for equipment or inventory. This would encourage you to invest and potentially create jobs, boosting the economy.

Back to the Editorial

  • Reason: Inflation remains high (3.5% in March, exceeding expectations).
  • Fed Chair Jerome Powell: “Inflation is still too high.”
  • Last mile of disinflation proving difficult.
  • Rate cuts on hold:
    • Expected multiple cuts earlier in 2024.
    • Fed “dot plot” suggested possibility of 3 cuts.
    • Cuts now depend on “greater confidence” on inflation.
  • Strong US economy allows Fed to keep rates higher:
    • Solid economic growth.
    • Strong job gains.
    • Low unemployment rate.

Global Interest Rate Trends 

US Fed keeps rates steady: High inflation (3.5% in March) delays cuts.

Diverging trends among central banks:

  • European Central Bank (ECB): Christine Lagarde suggests rate cuts in June, data-dependent approach.
  • Bank of England: Rate cuts expected before US Fed due to moderating inflation (3.2% in March).

RBI’s dilemma:

  • Kept rates unchanged in last meeting.
  • High food inflation vs. subdued core inflation.
  • Real interest rates at 2% (potentially excessive with 4.5% inflation projection for 2024-25).
  • Above-normal monsoon could provide space for rate cuts if food prices stabilize.

Conclusion: Global rate cuts depend on controlling inflation. US Fed waits for more certainty.


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