Connect with us

Headlines of The Day

Parliamentary panel asks Ayush Ministry to prevent underutilisation of funds

Given the gap between budgetary allocation and use, a parliamentary standing committee has asked the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (Ayush) to take steps to prevent underutilisation of funds under the National Ayush Mission (NAM) scheme.

According to the data, the ministry was allocated Rs 1,200 crore for the mission in the Budgetary Estimate (BE) for FY24. The Revised Estimate (RE) for the year fell to Rs 815 crore, of which Rs 589 crore, or 74 per cent, has been spent till January.

Similarly, while Rs 800 crore was earmarked for the scheme in BE 22-23, the revised allocation for the year fell to Rs 643.8 crore. Expenditure for FY23 was Rs 549.15 crore, 85 per cent of RE 22-23.

In its report reviewing the National Ayush Mission, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare said “although there has been a consistent upward trend of fund utilisation in the past three years, the actual utilisation of funds still remains low”. In view of this, the committee urged the ministry to focus on the matter. Till the time of going to press the ministry did not respond to queries sent by Business Standard regarding the reasons behind underutilisation.

The committee, however, noted a reason for this could be the large number of budget line items in annual plans.

“Based on the pace of utilisation and availability of funds with the ministry, funds are released in instalments very late in the financial year,” the report stated.

“The delay in submission of completed or audited utilisation certificates with relevant documents is another major impediment in the implementation of NAM,” the report added. The mission provides for establishing Ayush hospitals, dispensaries, and health and wellness centres (HWCs) in the country.

In March 2020, the Union Cabinet had approved the upgrade of 12,500 health facilities to Ayush HWCs by FY24. However, only 7,603 HWC were operationalised till August 2023.

Only five states and three Union Territories have operationalised 100 per cent of the Ayush HWCs approved. Punjab, on the other hand, has not operationalised a single Ayush centre, according to the data released by the parliamentary committee.

Citing the need to expedite the operationalisation, the committee said only about 65 per cent of the sanctioned Ayush HWCs had been established. Similarly, more than 69 per cent of the integrated Ayush hospitals approved under the mission are still either under construction or the construction has not started yet.

Standardised data collection, strict GMP framework among other recommendations. The committee advocated standardised electronic medical records in Ayush HWCs, saying that could pave the way for identifying biomarkers associated with specific Ayush interventions, opening the door for research on mechanisms of action and personalised medicine.

Addressing the matter of integrating traditional and scientific medicine under one roof, the committee stated co-located Ayush facilities at primary health centres (PHCs) and community health centres (CHCs) could act as one-stop centres for both conventional and traditional health care services, strengthening access to Ayush services.

The committee also recommended regulatory frameworks for implementing good manufacturing practices (GMPs) and good agricultural practices (GAPs) in manufacturing Ayush products.

“Many concerns have been raised over the high metal contents in the Ayush drugs, which damage people’s health,” the committee report said.

To make these measures effective, the committee asked the ministry to develop systems for health care professionals and consumers in reporting adverse events related to Ayush medicines.

“The Ministry should also conduct regular post-marketing surveillance of Ayush medicines to monitor real-world safety and efficacy,” the report added. Business Standard

Copyright © 2024 Medical Buyer

error: Content is protected !!