India may be in the pink of health once again with the Union health ministry expecting a 20-25 per cent hike in the upcoming health budget this time.
India may be in the pink of health once again with the Union health ministry expecting a 20-25 per cent hike in the upcoming health budget this time. Already one of the world’s lowest, the Narendra Modi government had kept a tight rein on public health spending by slashing the health budget last year.
Sources in the health ministry disclosed that 85 per cent of its budget has already been utilised and they are expecting a hike of around Rs 1,500-2,000 crore.
“The money has been utilised well, with about 86 per cent of it already being ulitlised in schemes. We are expecting a hike in the budget this time by at least 20-25 per cent. The funding pattern of the Centrally-sponsored schemes may also see a change this budget,” sources said.
The cut in the health budget had started hurting medical research in India, with the head of the top medical research body — Indian Council Medical Research — Dr Saumya Swaminathan recently disclosing that many projects were off-track due to a shortage of funds. “While we had sought Rs 10,000 crore for the 12th Five Year Plan, we have got less than 50 per cent. We are facing crisis in funds for the last 3-4 years. Due to this, many projects are not on track and our work has gone down,” Dr Soumya Swaminathan, director-general of ICMR had said.
With the hope that the forthcoming budget session will fulfil their demand of fund requirement, Dr Swaminathan said that the meager spending on health and the long and slow procurement process is affecting the medical research work, putting India at a much disadvantaged stage when compared with other parts of the world.
The health budget had last time seen a dip of 5.7 per cent with the Modi government announcing an outlay of Rs 33,152 crore for the sector, giving special emphasis to the promotion and development of Ayush, the country’s traditional methods of medicines.
Even as the ministry of ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy (Ayush) was allotted Rs 1,214 crore, the health sector was allotted Rs 33,152 crore.
The budgetary allocation decreased by 5.7 per cent as in the last fiscal it stood at Rs 35,163 crore.
The department of health research under the health ministry got a hike of 9.2 per cent with Rs 1,018.17 crore allotted to it compared to last year’s Rs 932 crore.