Health and the Union Budget: IMA’s Viewpoint
India continues to have a high burden of diseases despite the various health program and policies, which have not been able to achieve the desired goals and objectives.
A High-level expert group (HLEG) on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) constituted by Planning Commission of India submitted its report in Nov 2011 for India by 2022. The recommendations for the provision of UHC pertain to the critical areas such as health financing, health infrastructure, health services norms, skilled human resources, access to medicines and vaccines, management and institutional reforms, and community participation. Planning commission has estimated that 3.30 lakh crores has to be spent in 12th FY period (2012-2017) to achieve the goal of UHC by 2022. We are already into fourth year of the 12th FYP and yet only a meager proportion of this amount has been budgeted so far on an annual basis.
Public spending on health
It is believed that an important factor contributing to India’s poor health status is its low level of public spending on health, which is one of the lowest in the world. In 2007, according to WHO’s World Health Statistics, India ranked 164 in the sample of 191 countries in per capita terms. This level of per capita public expenditure on health was less than 30% that of China (WHO, 2010). Also, public spending on health as a percent of GDP in India has stagnated in the past two decades, from 1990–91 to 2009–10, varying from 0.9-1.2% of GDP.