Indian health sector and the expectations from the Indian Budget 2016
Health gurus in India expect higher allocation for health sector in the Union budget 2016. They further believe that increase in the allocation of health sector may have rippling effect on different economic sectors.
The current health budget is less than 1 per cent of the GDP of India. P.C.Reddy, Apollo Group of hospitals’ founder & chairman wish it to be double from the current 1 per cent to 2 per cent. The Managing Director of Indian Home Healthcare, Mr. V. Thiyagarajan is in the opinion that the budget should cover universal health insurance for all. Vouching for Mr. V. Thiyagarajan’s view, Ms. Suneeta Reddy, M.D. Appollo Group of Hospitals optimises that that budget 2016 should cover all citizens in a phased manner, and to start with it, the organised sector should be the 1st sector to be covered.
Ms Reddy further added that prevention of health care should also be the other priority sector to be covered in the union budget allocation. She further emphasised that the incidences of life style diseases are on the rise, so the employers must get an additional deduction of Rs. 75,000 per employee in every 2 years, which can be used for the health check-ups of the employees.
Her next recommendations are to push the service tax levied towards the negative list so that the trauma patients can be relieved from the hardships while going for the reconstructions for the cosmetic surgeries. Siding with Mr. Modi’s ‘make in India’ slogan, the founder of Trivitron Group of Companies, Mr. G.S.K. Velu wished that medical devices should be manufactured in the country, so that import dependency could be reduced to a great extent.
Negativity looming large
It is also apprehended by some experts that Union budget 2016 is unlikely to announce any significant increase in the health sector. These experts are pessimistic about the allocations of more funds to the health sector, which could have improved the overall public health systems.
Revamping India’s health care has been the vow of Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Damodar Modi, as he wants to make health services very much accessible and affordable to the lowest strata of people.
Expected Budget allocation to the Health Sector, as per two government sources, which has been revealed to Reuters
It is expected that Union budget 2016 will allocate $4 billion i.e. Rs. 244 billion.
Grim fact about last year’s budget
In the last year’s budget, the previous UPA government had allocated $5 billion i.e. Rs. 306.45 billion to the health sector, which was cut by 20 % in the post budget session. Health ministry was responsible for this chaos, because they could not utilize the whole amount.
However the onus was placed by the health ministry officials to the deteriorating fiscal situation of the government.
Containing fiscal deficit of 4.1 % of the GDP (gross domestic products) was the bitter pill the government had to swallow in this matter.
The fact in ‘black & white’
Only pitiable 1 % of GDP is spent on India’s health sector, which is less than Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.
Although India has been running through the economic growth during last 20 years, but successive governments had to walk through the tight ropes, as far as health care is concerned. Of course we must not forget here that the union health budget is the subject of this article, because the states have separate health budgets.
Since P.M. N.D.Modi has vowed to work on the plans of universal health coverage, which is believed to be providing all citizens with free diagnostic treatment in addition to free drugs, this year’s budget must be in line with Prime Minister’s vow..
The cost of this program is chalked out to be $26 billion during 2016-19, but funding of this program is yet to be decided.