Sunday, February 3, 2019

Budgetary allocation for health in the budget this year: The ups and downs

The total budget for health has been increased this year and is the highest in the last two financial years. With Rs 61,398 crore allocated for 2019-20, this is a 16% increase over the Rs 52,800 crore in the current financial year (2018-19).

As expected, the Ayushman Bharat scheme gets a major share of this.

Rs. 6,400 crore has been set aside for the Ayushman Bharat scheme for 2019-20. Of this, Rs. 250 crores are for setting up Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres under the National Urban Health Mission and Rs. 1350 crore are for the Health and Wellness Centres under the National Rural Health Mission. 

The allocation for National Health Mission for 2019-20 increased to Rs 31,745 crore.

Some national health programs have benefited.

·         The allocation for the National AIDS and STD Control Programme has been increased by Rs. 575 crore and it now stands at Rs. 2,500 crore vs Rs. 1,925 crore in the last budget. Is this justified? 
·         Allocation for the National Programme for Health Care for the Elderly increased from Rs. 80 crore to Rs. 105 crore. The same should have been more. 

Some national health programs had their budget cut back this year.

·         The National Mental Health Programme budget was reduced to Rs 40 crore this year as opposed to Rs 50 crore last year. What is the reason?
·         The budgetary allocation for the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke was reduced to Rs 175 crore from Rs 295 crore. This should have been doubled.
·         Allocation to the Tobacco Control Programme and Drug Deaddiction Programme was Rs. 65 crores, a decline by Rs. 2 crore.
·         The allocation of immunization or vaccination programme was cut 7% to Rs 6758.46 crore. This also should have been doubled with all vaccines given free to all.

India continues to have the highest burden of both TB and MDR TB patients and accounts for about a quarter of the global TB burden.

A suitable budget should be allocated to eradicate TB from the country. The treatment to all should be made free of cost and be available only through the government.

(Source: NDTV, Economic Times, India Today)

Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri Awardee
President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania   (CMAAO)
Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India
Past National President IMA

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