When it comes to the healthcare sector in India, governments till now have always been stingy and tightfisted and it looks like the Modi government may be no different.“Good health is a necessity for both quality of life, and a person’s productivity and ability to support his or her family. Providing medical services in each village and city is absolutely essential,” said the Finance Minister in his budget speech. But unfortunately, his view does not seem to be supported by the health budget for 2015.
The government last Saturday announced that Rs 33,152 crore has been allocated to the health sector, which is 5.7% below the funds allocated for health last year. According to the report published by the TOI, the promotion and development of AYUSH, the country’s traditional methods of medicines will now be prioritised. This news has not been received well by many experts in the field .
“Health has not received adequate attention and allocation in the budget. The promise of universal health coverage will remain unfulfilled unless health is prioritised,” said Professor K. Srinath Reddy, (President of the Public Health Foundation of India) to Reuters. “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, whereas the Department of Health and Family Welfare got a hike of a mere two per cent as Rs 29,653 crore earmarked this year as compared to Rs 29,042 crore last fiscal”. After inflation, this represents a drop in the amount of money allocated to health.
“It is not clear how the marginal increase in allocation will take care of the family planning agenda and the new AIIMS,” said Population Foundation of India Executive Director Poonam Muttreja in a report in TOI.
An article published by Zee news on its website has clearly listed some other points that were covered in the health budget:
- Health Insurance Premium deduction hiked from Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000; for senior citizens to Rs 30,000 from present Rs 10,000
- Deduction limit of Rs 60,000 on account of serious diseases to be enhanced to Rs 80,000 for senior citizens
- New scheme of providing physical aids for senior citizens living below poverty line proposed
- Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana to cover accidental death at a premium of Rs 330 per year
- Soon to be launched Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Yojana to provide accident insurance of Rs 2 lakh on a premium of Rs 12 per year
We would love to hear your comments on the health budget.