To bolster availability of specialist doctors at secondary and tertiary levels, the Centre today said it would create an additional 5,000 PG medical seats every year even as it increased the budget allocation for the health sector by almost 28 per cent and announced two AIIMS centres for Jharkhand and Gujarat. The government also asserted that it has prepared an action plan to eliminate kala-azar and filariasis by 2017, leprosy by 2018, measles by 2020 and tuberculosis by 2025 and plans to amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules to ensure availability of drugs at reasonable prices. It said that new rules for regulating medical devices will also be formulated soon while asserting that 1.5 lakh health sub-centres will be transformed into Health and Wellness Centres across the country.
According to the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today, the budget allocation for the Health Ministry for 2017-18 is Rs 47,352.51 crore in comparison to last year’s allocation of Rs 37,061.55 crore, an increase of 27.76 per cent. The revised allocation for 2016-17 was Rs 38,343.33 crore.
Hailing it as a “landmark” budget, Union Health Minister J P Nadda said that the budget estimates for health show an “appreciable” increase and will help to attend tertiary care, human resources for health and medical education and to strengthen National Health Mission.Nadda said that the Ministry has spent 73.25 per cent of 2016-17 budget till now and “with this pace I am hopeful of spending the remaining budget for 2016-17,” he said.
Jaitley in his speech said that the government is committed to take necessary steps for structural transformation of the regulatory framework of medical education and practice in India which includes several steps for increasing post-graduate medical seats. “The government has prepared an action plan to eliminate kala-azar and filariasis by 2017, leprosy by 2018 and measles by 2020. Elimination of tuberculosis by 2025 is also targeted.
“Similarly, action plan has been prepared to reduce Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) from 39 in 2014 to 28 by 2019 and Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) from 167 in 2011-13 to 100 by 2018-2020. 1.5 lakh Health Sub Centres will be transformed into Health and Wellness Centres,” he said.
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The allocation for Department of Health Research under the Ministry too has been hiked for 2017-18 as it has been alloted Rs 1,500 crore from the previous year’s allocation of Rs 1,144.80 crore. The revised allocation previous year was Rs 1,344.80 crore. Jaitley said that two new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) will be set up in Jharkhand and Gujarat.