Intensive care for health sector, 12th Plan outlay hiked 200%

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 28 2013, 10:52am hrs
In order to provide affordable access to the public healthcare system in the country, the government has hiked the allocation for the health sector by 200% (over 11th Plan tenure) to over Rs 3 lakh crore, virtually doubling the average annual allocation to Rs 60,000 crore over the current financial year.

Public healthcare remained the focus area for the UPA government in 2012-13 too, as it increased the allocation by 14% to R30,477 crore. In the Economic Survey for 2012-13, the government said narrowing inter-state and inter-regional disparities is also one of the objectives of inclusive development.

Under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), which aims at correcting regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/reliable tertiary healthcare services, the Centre will undertake the construction of eight AIIMS-like institutions in two phases. Also, 19 medical colleges will be upgraded.

As per the survey, the combined revenue and capital expenditure of the Centre and states on medical and public health, water supply and sanitation and family welfare has increased from R5,30,000 crore in 2006-07 to over R1.18 lakh crore in 2011-12.

The survey said the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), which provides an overarching umbrella to the existing health and family welfare programmes, added 1.4 lakh health human resources. Also, in order to strengthen rural healthcare, the government has roped in 8.84 lakh accredited social health activists (ASHAs). These activists have been engaged in each village/large habitation in the ratio of one per 1,000 population.

The government has also proposed to set up new medical colleges attached to district hospitals and strengthen and upgrade existing ones so as to add 16,000 new MBBS seats during the 12th Plan period.

Opening of six nursing colleges at the sites of AIIMS-like institutions at a total cost of R120 crore is also under works. "The scheme for upgrading of state government medical colleges envisages a one-time grant of R1,350 crore to be funded by central and state governments in a 75:25 ratio," the survey said.