ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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No Respite for Public Health

Health allocations in Budget 2016-17, which show a modest increase in nominal terms, must be viewed against the virtual stagnation of allocations since 2010-11, and the major cuts of 2015-16. Meanwhile, state governments' investments in health grew steadily. The centre has only prioritised initiatives that stimulate private health sector growth. This approach will have immediate adverse effects on availability and quality of public health services and will cause impoverishment due to healthcare costs, compromising economic growth in the long run.

The Union Budget 2016–17 for health sector disappoints again, but does not surprise us. Since 2012, the systematic policy incongruence between what government states as policy, and what it does in terms of budget allocations, has become an established feature of Indian public health policy. The major sections of media remain studiously silent on this, either because they endorse it, or because it is no longer news. To a casual observer, it is not as obvious as to those who have been tracking public health expenditures. It is only the packaging of the bad news that seems to change.

Centre and State Allocations

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