– globalbihari bureau
New Delhi: At a meeting with the Commission on Monday, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan and senior officials of Health Ministry submitted a revised proposal for fund requirement to the Finance Commission, which identified new areas for support such as Urban Health, Essential medicines, Starting DNB courses and Post-COVID health sector reforms. It revised its fund requirement from ₹ 4.99 lakh Cr to ₹ 6.04 lakh Cr for the period of the award of the XVFC ie 2021-22 to 2025-26.
The Ministry stated that the revised requirement of Rs. 6.04 lakh crores was estimated after giving due consideration to the recommendations of the High Level Group of the XVFC on Health, and after partial back loading of the funds. The Ministry has thus asked for additional resources to the tune of 0.4 percent of GDP per annum to the States which they felt would lead to significant progress towards achievement of the National Health Policy target. The key elements of enhanced support identified by the Ministry were –
- Set up Medical Colleges(MCs) attached with District Hospitals(DHs)
- Training of 1.5Mn Skilled workforce in Allied Healthcare
- Start Super Speciality Blocks (SSBs) under PMSSY
- Health System Strengthening including Primary Healthcare.
The Commission agreed that there was a need to increase public sector health outlay and also to develop a professional cadre of health workers. It further recognised that there was also requirement for higher and continuing engagement of the States and the 3rd tier for this purpose. The Chairman, XVFC, Shri N. K. Singh stated that the Commission needed to know from the Ministry its views regarding the Central Government outlays, sector specific initiatives based on conditionalities and how the money set apart for the 3rd tier could be assigned for health and health infrastructure.
The Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan described his vision for the improvement of India’s health sector and appreciated the Commission’s decision to re-prioritize the sector.
The Ministry in a detailed presentation to the Commission highlighted the National Health Policy (NHP) 2017 targets which include:-
- Increase public health expenditure to 2.5% of GDP, in a progressive manner, by 2025.
- Primary Health Expenditure to be 2/3rd of the total health expenditure
- Increase State sector health spending to more than 8% of their budget by 2020.
The Ministry pointed out that presently 35% of the public health expenditure was done by the Central Government, and 65% by the State Governments. T”he pandemic has established the importance of the need to strengthen the public health sector, surveillance and public health management, preventive and promotive health care with special focus on urban health,” the ministry stated and said it also felt that there was a need to increase the allocation of MoHFW on year to year basis.
The DoHFW has proposed for enhanced state specific grants in the following manner –
For untied funds:
- Minimum 10% of fund to be earmarked for the health sector with at-least 2/3rd being reserved for the primary health
- Gaps in funding for Primary Health Care in States to be used as a criteria – will help States that have significant funding needs and health lag, to get more funds & prioritize spending on health
For performance based incentives, it stated composite Health Index should be utilized to encourage states to demonstrate performance on year on year basis, which hould have a weightage of 20% in the performance linked pool.
Looking at the peculiar state of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 15th Finance Commission stated it had decided to have a separate Chapter on Health in its final Report to the Government.