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Launched in 2005, the Rural Health Scheme strives to offer both affordable and quality healthcare to those residing in rural India. In addition to this, the scheme was implemented to create strong systems of monitoring and evaluation, improve the delivery of healthcare services, and boost community-led healthcare services.   The NRHM scheme operates on the foundation of four main principles – decentralisation, deployment of human resources, data collection, and public-private partnerships.

Objectives of the National Rural Health Mission

The objectives of the National Rural Health Mission are:


  • To implement strong strategies for monitoring and evaluation

  • To improve the quality of health service delivery at all levels

  • To make quality health care affordable and accessible to the rural population

  • To combine facility-based care with community-led health initiatives

  • To achieve a functional quality-assured framework for health services

  • To create a robust and resilient net of health services for the rural and at-risk groups to fall back on

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Features of NRHM Scheme

Here’s a look at the features and highlights of the National Rural Health Mission:


  • Augment the functionality and accountability of the public health delivery system for the community

  • Efficient management of human resources

  • Increase the involvement of the community

  • Decentralisation of the NRHM scheme’s specialised healthcare services

  • Close monitoring and evaluation of services provided against carefully set standards

  • Intersectional convergence of health and related programmes from village level upwards

  • Creative development and implementation of healthcare services

  • Financing the existing and newly implemented programmes

  • Interventions at regular intervals to improve the existing health indicators

Benefits of National Rural Health Mission

Based on the above features and objectives, the benefits of the National Rural Health Mission in India are:


  • Access to affordable and quality medical facilities as well as services

  • Reduced maternal and new-born mortality among the rural population

  • Increased awareness about instant treatment in the rural population

  • 450+ districts with Mobile Medical Unit that covers medical emergencies

  • Accessible treatment for transmissible diseases and chronic diseases

  • Better understanding of the adverse effects of harmful effects such as tobacco and smoking

  • Free healthcare for postnatal and prenatal care

  • Reduces the number of people who smoke or chew tobacco

  • Free ambulance service made available 

  • Increased and improved equipment with funding from the government

  • Strengthened medical infrastructure

How to Avail the NRHM Benefits?

To avail of the benefits of the National Rural Health Mission, you must meet the eligibility requirement. Since the scheme aims to offer medical services and facilities to the underserved and rural community, you need to be a resident of the declared areas where the NRHM will operate. 


The application process for availing of the benefits is fairly straightforward. Once you know that you are eligible, you can do either of these to avail the benefits of this rural health mission:


  • Visit the official website of NRHM and assess your options

  • Contact the assigned ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) worker at your nearest Anganwadi centre

  • Call the toll-free number 1800-180-1900 to resolve queries and know your complaint status

Strategies Of NRHM

The National Rural Health Mission deploys many core strategies to achieve these objectives. Some of them are:

  • Decentralisation

Quality health care is only available through health facilities owned at the central and state-level or privately in India. NRHM aims to change this equation by building capacity for managing health services at the Panchayat level.

  • Deployment of human resources

NRHM deploys human resources like ASHAs and MPWs at critical points to close service gaps.

  • Data collection

National Rural Health Mission adopts specially developed metrics and data collection and analysis techniques to track and improve the health indicators.

  • Promotes public-private partnerships

NRHM works to achieve affordable services by regulating the private sector at the practitioner level. Increasing public-private partnerships and non-profit initiatives in focused zones work to augment this.

Community Participation Initiatives under the NRHM Scheme

  • National Rural Health Mission holds several awareness drives, sensitisation programmes, campaigns and capacity-building efforts to mobilise effort at the community level.

  • NRHM appoints Accredited Social Health Activists or ASHAs to integrate service delivery with community efforts. They are responsible for distributing goods and equipment to the stakeholders under NRHM.

  • Community-led health efforts brought about through innovative behavioural change-based interventions with solid support for non-profit initiatives.

NRHM Institutional Process

National Rural Health Mission focuses on the key personnel and institutions and their responsibilities to improve the available healthcare services. The National Mission Steering Group guides the processes implemented by NRHM.


For example, National Rural Health Mission:


  • Integrates the Departments of Health and Family Welfare at state and national levels.

  • Appoints Rogi Kalyan Samitis for community management of public hospitals,

  • Assigns Village Health and Sanitation Committee for mobilising human resources.


Achievements of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)

Targets and Achievements under NRHM from 2005-12:

TARGETS (2012)


Reduce IMR to 30/1000 births

IMR was reduced from 58 in 2005 to 42 in 2012.

Reduce Maternal Mortality to 100/100,000 live births

MMR reduced from 254 in 2004-06 to 178 in 2010-12.

Reduce TFR to 2.1

TFR reduced from 2.9 in 2005 (SRS) to 2.4 in 2012 (SRS).

Reduce Malaria Mortality by 60%

70% Malaria mortality reduction

Reduce Kala Azar Mortality by 100%

85% Kala-azar mortality reduction

Increase cataract operations to 46 Lakhs per year

In 2012, 63.49 Lakhs of cataract operations were reported yearly

Reduce Dengue Mortality by 50%

8% reduction in Dengue Mortality

Reduce Leprosy Prevalence to less than 1 per 10,000

Rate of Leprosy Prevalence reduced from 1.34 to 0.68 per 10,000 in 2012.

Tuberculosis Control to 70% case detection & 85% cure rate

71% case detection and 88% cure rate for Tuberculosis in 2012.

Reduce Filarial/Microfilariae Reduction Rate to 80%

60% Filarial/Microfilariae Reduction

Targets and Achievements for NRHM between 2012 and 2017:

TARGETS (2017)


Reduce IMR - 25/1,000

IMR reduced to 40 in 2013

Reduce MMR - 1/1,000

MMR reduced to 167 in 2011-13

Reduce TFR to 2.1

TFR reduced to 2.3 in 2013

Incidence and mortality rate of Tuberculosis to be reduced to half

Tuberculosis incidence: 171 per lakh and mortality: 9 per lakh in 2013.

Reduce Leprosy to <1/10,000 population

Rate of Leprosy Prevalence reduced to 1 per 10,000

Reduce Malaria Incidence - <1/1,000 annually

Annual Malaria Incidence reduced to less than 1 per 1,000

Eliminate Kala-azar by 2015

454/611 blocks reported only less than 1 case per 10,000.

Microfilaria prevalence should be less than 1%

Microfilariae prevalence reduced to less than 1% in 222 out of 255 districts

FAQs about the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)

When was the National Rural Health Mission launched?

The National Rural Health Mission was launched in April 2005 as part of the country’s National Health Mission. 


What are the achievements of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)?

The achievements of the National Rural Health Mission are many, with the most significant being reduced women and newborn mortality rates and the reduced prevalence of tobacco use.

Who can avail the benefits of the NRHM?

Since the National Rural Health Mission is designed to cater to the needs of rural India, only those that reside in these areas may avail the benefits on offer.

What are some of the notable benefits of the NRHM?

While the scheme does work to improve the holistic impact of the existing healthcare infrastructure, some of its more notable benefits include lowering smoking and consumption of alcohol and reducing maternal and new-more mortality rates in rural India. 

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