Health schemes may be underfunded under Modi govt: International medical journal | india | Hindustan Times
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Health schemes may be underfunded under Modi govt: International medical journal

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has curtailed the health budget despite announcing public health programmes, the reputable medical journal The Lancet has claimed in a recent issue.

india Updated: May 26, 2015 22:24 IST
Shobhan Singh
Prime-Minister-Narendra-Modi-delivers-a-lecture-at-Tsinghua-University-in-Beijing-China-PTI-Photo
Prime-Minister-Narendra-Modi-delivers-a-lecture-at-Tsinghua-University-in-Beijing-China-PTI-Photo

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has curtailed the health budget despite announcing public health programmes, the reputable medical journal The Lancet has claimed in a recent issue.

The report said while the Narendra Modi-led government, which completes one year this week, has introduced new programmes for issues such as tobacco control and sanitation, the reduced budget could mean the schemes will be underfunded.

The cuts in the budget have been a concern with public health activists and experts in India as well.

“The lack of support displayed by the Modi government for a publicly funded health sector has raised fears that health programmes will be severely underfunded,” said the report. “National Health Mission (NHM), under which the central government provides funds to states for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health programmes, has received almost a quarter less money for 2015-16 than last year,” it said.

“This [cut in health spending] is appalling and unjustifiable as it will be associated with continued stagnation and even deterioration of health indicators in a country where inadequate public health is already a huge problem, and out-of-pocket spending even by the poor is one of the highest in the world, contributing significantly to poverty risks,” said Jayati Ghosh, professor of economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, quoted in the Lancet report.

At present, the health budget allocation is around 1.2% of the gross domestic product (GDP)—but is heavily dependent on the private sector for providing medical care. The annual budget for 2015-16, presented in Parliament earlier this year, slashed the central government’s health spending by 15% compared with last year.