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Healthcare Budget allocation low as its States’ responsibility

Finance secretary TV Somanathan on Monday said healthcare is primarily the responsibility of the states, amid suggestions by the industry that the budgetary allocation for the sector is still low at 1.3 percent of GDP.

At a post-budget interaction of industry representatives in Mumbai with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) president T V Narendran said the spending on healthcare, though higher than in the past, is 1.3 percent of GDP, while the expectations are that the government should spend over 3 percent.

“The figures have to be seen in the context of it being primarily a state government responsibility,” Somanathan said, adding that “anytime we discuss targets on the percentage of GDP to be spent on various sectors such as health, education, defence — we have to remember that any increases there will require increases in the tax-to-GDP ratio and I request the cooperation of the industry to increase that also”.

The finance secretary said the government provides for some “cross-cutting health infrastructure” and also spends on the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), which helps people from lower strata of the society to access healthcare.

According to the budget proposals for 2022-23, the government is planning to spend about ₹ 83,000 crore on healthcare, the same as it did in 2021-22, even as the pandemic is still on. PTI

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