15th Finance Commission holds meeting with Health Ministry : 14-07-2020

The 15th Finance Commission on Monday held a meeting with Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and senior officials of the ministry on revising the State Specific proposals of the ministry in light of the COVID-19 experience. The Chairman of the Commission, N K Singh, said looking at the peculiar state of the pandemic, the commission’s final report will have a separate chapter on health.

The ministry pointed out that presently 35 per cent of the public health expenditure is done by the Centre and 65 per cent by the state governments. “The 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 also felt that there was a need to increase the allocation of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on a year to year bas ..

The meeting was held to discuss the specific issues of revising the state-specific proposals of the ministry in light of the COVID-19 experience, exploring the possibility of backloading in the light of fiscal strain and consideration of the suggestions of the High-Level Group of the 15th Finance Commission on health, the statement said.

“The ministry after giving due consideration to the recommendations of the high-level group of the 15th FC on Health, and after partial backloading of funds have prepared a revised requirement of Rs 6.04 lakh crore from the earlier requirement of Rs 4.99 lakh crore. “The ministry has thus asked for additional resources to the tune of 0.4 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per annum to the states which they felt would lead to significant progress towards achievement of the National Health Policy target,” the statement added.

The National Health Policy (NHP) 2017 targets include increasing public health expenditure to 2.5 per cent of the GDP, in a progressive manner, by 2025, Primary Health Expenditure to be 2/3rd of the total health expenditure and increase state sector health spending to more than 8 per cent of their budget by 2020. The Commission agreed that there was a need to increase public sector health outlay and also to develop a professional cadre of health workers, the statement added.

Source : Financial Express