Indian Medical Association terms budgetary allocation for health sector 'inadequate'; says health India's blind spot

New Delhi: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Saturday termed the budgetary allocation in the health sector "inadequate" as the body lamented that public spending on health remained at 1.2 per cent of GDP.

 Indian Medical Association terms budgetary allocation for health sector inadequate; says health Indias blind spot

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In a statement, the doctor's body said health remains a blind spot in the country. "Health remains the only subject which the union finance minister has preferred to downplay. There is no clarity of enhancement of investment in Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (AB-PMJAY) either," it said.

"The atmosphere of violence in our hospitals is directly due to the inadequacy of infrastructure and human resources in the public sector and out of pocket expenditure in private sector," the statement said.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday announced Rs 62,659.12 crore outlay for the health sector in 2019-2020 fiscal. The health outlay this fiscal saw an increase of around 15.38 per cent over the revised estimates of 2018-2019 fiscal when it was Rs 54,302.50 crore.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA), however, said the 15.4 per cent higher allocation is a myth and provides for only inflation.

"The 15.4 per cent higher allocation is a myth and provides for only inflation. There is absolutely no indication of any vision towards raising the public health expenditure to 2.5 per cent of GDP," IMA president Santanu Sen said.

The medical body said the allocation of Rs 2,000 crore for converting district hospitals into medical colleges, and Rs 1,361 crore for strengthening government medical colleges (MBBS) are the only silver streaks in the lacklustre budget.

"Even this allocation is highly inadequate considering the fact that the number of district hospitals in the country is at least 763. Giving Rs 2 to 3 crore per district hospital will be inadequate for any meaningful change," it rued.

On the government's ambitious Ayushman Bharat scheme, the IMA said, "Had the government extended the insurance coverage under Ayushman Bharat to primary care, thousands of clinics and small hospitals situated in the rural and semi-urban area would have participated. This would have made both the Ayushman Bharat and small hospitals viable and sustainable."

RV Asokan, IMA general secretary, said, "The IMA is concerned that small and medium hospitals will be decimated with the current design of health care. IMA demands a review of the concept and operational aspects of Ayushman Bharat while demanding more allocation for health."

The doctor's body also urged the people to exert pressure on their MPs to increase public spending on health.

Updated Date: Jul 06, 2019 22:20:01 IST