Government spending on health, water and sanitation worrisome: Planning Commission

 

Pune, May 14, 2010:“The midterm appraisal by the Planning Commission shows “discouraging” spending on health and its allied subjects like water and sanitation which is still well short of the envisaged spending planned by Planning Commission,” said Dr. Narendra Jadhav, Member Planning Commission of India,while inaugurating the Regional Conference on Health, Population and Social Development -Issues of Western States of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthanorganized by the Population Foundation of India here yesterday.

 

He further added that the Planning Commission of India had a midterm appraisal on all development issues including expenditure on the planned activities of the government. The report had been presented to the National Development Council and would be released shortly. The report states that the current spending on health is just 1.1per cent of the GDP. During the last five years, Central government spending on public health has gone up from 0.29 per cent in 2005-06 to 0.39 per cent in 2009-10. However, the total spending on health and the social sector  -education, water and sanitation, is still less than 2 per cent of the GDP.

 

Before the 11th plan, expenditure on health was little more than one per cent of the GDP. It was envisaged that it should increase to two per cent in the 11th Plan. The percentage of spending by state governments is even less than the Central government.  The state governments’ spending on health increased from 0.96 per cent in 2005-06 to 1.09 per cent in 2009-10.   

 

The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) went down to 254 in 2004-06 from 301 in 2001-03 per 100,000 live births. The target in the 11th Plan is to decrease it to 100 by 2012. For that a decline of 22 per year is required. However, our track record shows that it is declining at the rate of 16 per year at present. Thus we are far behind achieving the target, he said. It would help if we adopt area- specific interventions, which include provisions for equipping TBAs for safe deliveries, universalizing access to skill birth attendants, creating access to Emergency ObstetricCare (EmOC) within a two-hour travel time in case of complications. 

 

The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) went down from 57 in 2006 to 53 in 2008 per 1000 live births. The 11th Plan target is to decrease it to 28. For that, a decline of six per year is required. However, our track record suggests that it is declining at the rate of two per year.  Therefore, achieving the 11th Plan target is still a distance dream, he said.

 

Among others who spoke on this occasion were Mr H S Singhania, Chairman of JK Group of Industries, Mr A R Nanda, former Union Secretary of Health & Family Welfare, MrBG Deshmukh, former Union Cabinet Secretary, Ms Leila Seth, the first High Court woman judge of India, and Mr JK Banthia, Principal Secretary Health, Government of Maharashtra.

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