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Study: Healthcare bills drive 55 million Indians to poverty each year

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A recent study by the Public Health Foundation of India has shown that paying for their own healthcare has driven about 55 million Indians to poverty in a single year. Published in the British Medical Journal, the study was put together by three experts who concluded that a severe disease such as cancer could result in “catastrophic expenditure” for an average-income Indian household.

As part of the study, experts examined nationwide consumer expenditure surveys dating back to 1994 to 2012. Health economists Sakthivel Selvaraj and Habib Hasan Farooqui even analysed the ‘Social Consumption: Health’ survey which was conducted by the National Sample Survey Organisation back in 2014. The experts asserted that non-communicable diseases mainly cancer, diabetes and heart diseases account for a large part of household spending on health.

According to experts, considering health expenditure as catastrophic qualifies only when it constitutes 10 per cent or more of the household’s overall consumption expenditure. The study also pointed out that out of the 55 million Indians who were driven to poverty owing to healthcare bills, at least 38 million fell below the poverty line after paying for medicines alone.

In addition, the study also pointed out that even after the government brought essential drugs in the National List of Essential medicines subjecting them to price caps, 80 per cent of the retail pharmacy market remains uncovered. In fact, sales volumes of all the drugs brought under the Drug Price Control Order 2013, have dropped since the decision. Experts also pointed out that repeated issues with the state-run 3,000 Jan Aushadhi stores have resulted in non-availability of cheap medicines to the Indian public.

With a lacking public healthcare system, a majority of Indian households are left with no other option than to seek private healthcare, noted the study adding that a large chunk of the Indian public continued to incur notable expenditure on medicines.

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Sensex rises over 250 pts, Nifty reclaims 11,400 mark

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Mumbai | The benchmark Sensex staged a strong comeback in early trade today gaining over 250 points on widespread buying by participants in metal, realty and banking stocks after the US and China agreed to resume trade talks last night.

Taking positive cues from global equities, the 30-share index was trading higher by 262.91 points, or 0.69 percent, at 37,926.47. The index had lost 188.44 points in the previous session. The NSE Nifty reclaimed the 11,400 mark, by rising 62.15 points, or 0.55 percent, to 11,447.20.

All sectoral indices, led by metal, FMCG, realty, auto, banking, PSU, healthcare, infrastructure, power, capital goods, oil and gas and IT, recovered up to 1.38 percent.

Major gainers were Vedanta, Tata Steel, ITC, Yes Bank, Adani Ports, Tata Motors, Axis Bank, SDBI, ICICI Bank, RIL and Asian Paints, rising up to 2.13 percent

While, Wipro, Bharti Airtel, Bajaj Auto and HDFC were trading in the negative zone, falling up to 0.70 percent.

Domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought shares worth a net of Rs 133.78 crore while foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth a net of Rs 825.08 crore yesterday, provisional data showed.

Investor sentiment turned positive after the US and China agreed to resume trade talks last night, traders said.

Amid a stalemate in the trade war with the US, China will send a top official to Washington this month to resume the high-level dialogue to resolve the deadlock over President Donald Trump’s demand to drastically reduce the USD 375 billion trade deficit.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.44 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.46 percent, while Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.39 percent.

US stocks rallied to close higher yesterday. The US Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 1.58 percent higher yesterday.

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Rupee plummets to historic low of 70.09 on Turkish lira collapse

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Mumbai  |  Reversing all its early gains, the rupee today collapsed to a lifetime low of 70.09 against the US dollar, falling 16 paise amid fears that Turkish economic crisis could lead to a global financial meltdown.

The ongoing currency turmoil in Turkey has dampened investors’ sentiments globally. Investors are turning to the dollar as a safe haven with Turkeys currency lira crisis continuing since the last week.

Yesterday, the rupee had plunged by Rs 1.08, or 1.57 per cent, to a record low of 69.93 against the US currency.

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Rupee recovers from life low, up 23 paise

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Mumbai | The rupee recovered from all-time low of 69.91 and strengthened by 23 paise to 69.68 against the US dollar in opening trade at the interbank foreign exchange market today on some macroeconomic boost.

Yesterday, the rupee had plunged by Rs 1.08, or 1.57 percent, to a record low of 69.91 against the US currency amid fears that Turkish currency turmoil could turn out into global financial crisis.

In a ray of hope for domestic economy, latest data showed that retail inflation fell to 9-month low of 4.17 percent in July on declining vegetable prices which may prompt the Reserve Bank to pause interest rate hike in its next monetary policy review.

In the last two reviews, the RBI had raised the key repo rate by 0.25 percent each on inflationary concerns. The next bi-monthly policy is to be unveiled on October 5. Stock markets opening with gains also boosted the domestic currency, dealers said. However, the dollar’s strength against some currencies overseas capped the gains of the domestic unit.

Meanwhile, the benchmark BSE Sensex recovered 184.93 points, or 0.49 percent, to 37,829.83 points in early trade today.

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