Govt failed to give priority to healthcare sector in Union Budget, say Pune activists
City doctors crusading for universal and affordable healthcare in the country have expressed disappointment over the union budget 2019. They said it failed to give priority to public healthcare issues.
Terming the budget as dissatisfying and extremely depressing, Dr Arun Gadre, senior public health activist and coordinator at Sati-cehat, an NGO working for public healthcare, said, “The government has forgotten the number of paediatric deaths that took place recently. Many children lost their lives in Muzaffarpur (Bihar) and prior to that many lives were lost in Gorakhpur. Given the falling healthcare, we were expecting the government to give health a priority which clearly did not happen.”
Dr Gadre said, “Even after listening to the budget details repeatedly, I could not hear the word ‘health’ which shows the government’s attitude towards healthcare of the country.”
Dr Abhijit More, public health activist and spokesperson Aam Aadmi Party, Maharashtra said, “Firstly, there is no mention of health in the union budget. Secondly, the government has forgotten the fatalities that happened in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur recently. Thirdly, Niti Aayog itself had announced that the new health and wellness centre upgradation scheme in the country will need at least ₹10,000 crore budget, but the government announced only ₹1,600 crore which is disappointing. The allocated amount is not enough for the one lakh existing health sub-centres.”
Amulya Nidhi, national co-convenor of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan and public health activist, was also critical of the budget saying that it did not reflect the government’s commitment to PM Modi’s slogan ‘Swachh Bharat, Swasth Bharat’.
Nidhi said, “The government claims that 93 per cent of open defecation has been eliminated in the country. However, the figures of Niti Aayog released last year shows that the country’s health system is weakening. Besides this, none of the major healthcare programmes such as national health mission and food security or flagship programmes under Ayushman Bharat were mentioned in the budget.”