Interactive Discussion on "Budgetary Allocation for Health in India"

Discussion in progress

The millennium has seen some remarkable achievements in public health in India. India has had some achievements in the past few decades with significant declines in infant and maternal deaths, and halting of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Further there has been an eradication of poliomyelitis and near elimination of neonatal tetanus. Increased investments in public health explains some of these achievements.

Based on recommendations of the National Health Policy (2002), budget allocations to the health sector progressively increased every year from 2005: between 2005 and 2010, budgetary allocations increased by 300%, from Rs 10,000 crores to Rs 30,000 crores. From 0.9% of total GDP, public health expenditures increased to about 1.3%. However, the health status of India’s citizens continues to be poor. The country continues to have the distinction of having the largest number of infant deaths, maternal deaths and tuberculosis cases in the world. At 1.3% of GDP, India continues to fall under the countries with the lowest relative public expenditure on healthcare.

In this context, GPPI-CPR and GHS jointly organised an interactive discussion on “Budgetary Allocation for Health in India” on March 15, 2017, to highlight key issues in the budgetary allocation for healthcare, discuss possible solutions and ways in which parliamentarians can play key roles in addressing them. The discussion was led by Professor Pinaki Chakraborty, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy and an Honorary Research Scholar at Levy Economics Institute, New York and Dr Amir Ullah Khan, Development Economist and Policy Expert on Health, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The discussion was chaired by Ms Vandana Chavan, MP, Rajya Sabha. The discussion was also attended by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus from Ethiopia, who is contesting for the World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Post.

This discussion was part of a collaborative series of roundtables organized by both GPPI-CPR and GHS aimed to educate and equip political leaders for comprehensive child survival interventions for diseases that kill a large percentage of our children in the country; create awareness and utilise platforms to raise the profile of child survival. Twenty-Six (26) current Members of Parliament representing both Houses participated in this discussion.