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Understanding the Budget Allocation for Health in India

Amidst growing anticipations about the 2019 interim budget by the present government, let us look back at the budget 2018 and compare it with the earlier ones to understand the amount of focus the public health sector receives in India. The spending on health by budget 2018-19 shows a rise of about 13 percent over what was allotted for this sector in the earlier budget. As part of this budget, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley declared the globe’s largest national health insurance program. The budget also sanctioned scholarships for about 1000 doctorate engineering students at the IIT and IIS. Construction of 18.8 million toilets across the country was announced to be completed by 2019. Some key points on the 2018 budget allotment towards public health. There was a 2.1 percent decrease in the allocation towards the national health mission, which is the country’s largest primary health infrastructure program.

In order the fund the increased allotment towards the health and education sector, Arun Jaitley said the cess on education and health payable by the taxpayers will rise to 4 percent from 3 percent. Presenting the bill in the Lok Sabha, he said, “This will enable us to collect an estimated additional amount of 11,000 crores.” Budget 2018 introduced a new national health insurance scheme which came as the world’s largest one covering 100 million households for Rs 500,000 per year per family. This scheme covered 30,000 more individuals than the one that preceded it. The spending on the Health Ministry decreased to 2.1 percent of the total Union Budget from the 2.4 percent in 2017-18.

There was a 2.1 percent decline in the allocation towards National Health Mission, a National Health Program that provides the primary healthcare infrastructure by sliding from Rs 31,292 crores (2017-18 budget) to Rs 30,634 crores (2018-19 budget). As part of the government’s commitment to improve the nutrition status of the Indian children, the budget for the National Nutrition Mission that addresses under-nutrition, anemia and stunting increased by three times from Rs 950 crores in the 2017-18 budget to Rs 3000 crores in the 2018-19 budget. Arun Jaitley said, “The Ayushman Bharat will build a New India 2022 and ensure enhanced productivity, well-being and avert wage loss and impoverishment. These schemes will also generate lakhs of jobs, particularly for women.” He added, “The government will also set up 24 new medical colleges and hospitals and upgrade existing district hospitals in the country.”
The other kinds of investments in budget 2018 towards health

Rs 600 crores was allotted for providing nutritional support to all the tuberculosis patients registered with the primary health centers. This scheme will spend Rs 500 per month per patient for 10 months over the full duration of the treatment provided. Rs 1200 crores went for the National Health Policy, 2017 to support more than 150,000 health and wellness centers. This allotment aimed at combating the rising tide of non-communicable diseases like diabetes and other cardiovascular ailments. – Business Insider

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