Govt. spending on health care “abysmally low”

Parliamentary Standing Committee expresses concern about national health outcomes being "jeopardised" due to budget shortage

April 28, 2016 10:44 am | Updated September 12, 2016 09:30 am IST - New Delhi

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on health stated that the National Health Mission has been allocated a “measly 45%” of the funding originally envisaged under the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-2017).

The committee has expressed concern about national health outcomes being “jeopardised” due to budget shortage, noting that to reach the target of investing 2.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at the end of 12th Five Year Plan, the Centre would have to increase the health budget by an “implausibly high magnitude” of 147 % over the 2015-2016 budgetary allocation. The committee led by Ramgopal Yadav, an MP from Samajwadi, states that the Central government, “owes an explanation” for a huge gap between the envisaged budgetary allocations and the funds made available.

“Despite the policy pronouncement of raising public health expenditure to 2.5% of GDP, as articulated in the 10th, 11th and 12th Five Year Plans, the government spending on health continues to be abysmally low at 1.2%,” states the report.

“The stagnation in Central government allocations for health, over the last decade, is a major barrier to achieving health goals identified in the 12th Five Year Plan and reiterated in the National Health Policy, Primary health care, which is vital to the protection of population health, has suffered from this neglect. India’s development strategy call ill afford to ignore health any longer. This is a wake up call to all political parties to urgently generate a national commitment to delivering the health services that Indian people desire and deserve,” said Prof. K Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and member of the High Level Expert Group (HLEG), established by the Planning Commission to provide a roadmap for universal health coverage.

The report states that health sector and, in particular, the National Health Mission (NHM) “has been a soft target whenever the government faces a resource crunch.”

The Planning Commission had approved a total outlay of Rs. 1,93,405.71 crore for the NHM under the 12th Five Year Plan but the total budget allocation made, so far, by the Centre between 2012-2016 is Rs. 90,000.82 crore. Similarly, for the entire department, the plan envisaged an investment of Rs. 2,68,551 crore over the 5 year period, but only Rs. 1,25,117 crore have been released for the Department of Health and Family Welfare.

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