Health budget 'unclear', 'under-funded': Experts
Even as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley allocated Rs 48,853 crore to the health sector, and assured of adding 5,000 post graduate medical seats every year, health experts and hospital owners on Wednesday called the health budget "unclear" and "under funded".
Although the experts hailed the announcement to set up All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Jharkhand and Gujarat, they said there is a need for the government to announce more for screening and preventive measures to check the growing tuberculosis (TB) burden.
"We were hopeful that health care would be accorded a national priority sector status," said Prathap C. Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group. The budget allocation for the health sector for 2017-18 is Rs 48,853 crore, 23 per cent higher than last year, which stood at Rs 39,688 crore. Stating that he is satisfied with the structural reforms in medical education, in particular the increase in the number of post graduate medical seats, Reddy said: "I do hope that the health policies will address the large unmet need for quality health care infrastructure and in particular the need to wage a war against non-communicable diseases which the health sector has been focusing on."
Jaitley announced 5,000 new post graduate medical seats every year in the medical colleges of India. He also said that the government will take steps to roll out Diplomate of National Budget (DNB) courses in big district hospitals.