Statement by JAN SWASTHYA ABHIYAN
The Union Budget 2018-19 makes tall claims, with no clear road map for the health sector, one that is sensitive to the needs of the poor and the vulnerable population of India.
The allocations for Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) (including for AYUSH) have increased from Budget Estimate of Rs. 50,281 crore in 2017-18 Rs. 56,226 crore in 2018-19.
However, from 2017-18 (Revised Estimate) the increase is much lower, a mere Rs. 1374 crore, or just about 2.5 percent. This is a decline in real terms if we account for inflation, and Union Budget allocations for the health sector have stagnated at 0.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The 2017 target of National Health Policy (NHP) is 2.5 percent of GDP as health expenditure by the Government (both Centre and States) by 2025. However, with central allocations stagnating at the current 0.3 percent of GDP, it would not be possible to achieve this target.
The ‘Modicare’ mirage
Continue reading Exposing the mirage of ‘Modicare’: Jan Swasthya Abhiyan
Guest post by KAVERI GILL
The world of development is as prone to fashions as any other. In recent times, ‘evidence-based policy’ has become the new gold standard, following hot on the heels of participation and ownership of policy processes and outcomes by academics, activists and civil society groups. This applies within nation states, especially of the global South. India today epitomises such objective and bottom-up democratic largesse in favour of the ‘aam admi’- for largesse it is, make no mistake – with a near constant refrain of the avowed aim of ‘inclusive growth’. And yet, does it really?
Or is politically correct discourse and seemingly open decision-making processes in the social sector sphere merely dangerous fig leaves for seismic and opaque shifts in policy, which have very little to do with evidence and even less to do with broad-based consensus? Rather, they are an outcome of fixed ex-ante views – which may be termed as a distinct partiality to the Chicago School of Economics – about the path to a fictitious endpoint of a mainstream development paradigm, which itself is faith-based. It is not justified by theory or a heterodox reading of the empirical experiences of presently developed countries, let alone latecomer developing nations which are, for various exogenous and endogenous reasons, likely to have different trajectories altogether. I refer here to the hackneyed line about faster growth being pursued as a necessary, if not sufficient, condition for eventual trickle down, no matter that the ‘dur khaima’ of an equitable society is never arrived at! Continue reading Evidence, Consensus and Policy: Kaveri Gill on the curious case of changes proposed in India’s public health policy
Guest post by KAVERI GILL
“AIIMS is like my aging mother, whose clothes are in tatters, and I feel I must hold them together to cover and protect her”. A senior anaesthetist said this the evening before I was due to have a relatively small but complex surgery, and my search for the best surgeon had bought me to the institute’s doorstep. Fifty five years after Nehru’s dream of a medical centre of excellence materialised, with state of the art teaching, world class research and high quality patient care, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi is mostly in the news for all the wrong reasons: fracas over reservation, cheating on entrance exams and charges of mismanagement.
Continue reading Sufi Doctors and Nehru’s Ailing Centre of Excellence: Kaveri Gill
Guest post by PRIYANKA NANDI
Urja aehi, swadha aehi, sunrita chirawatyehiti
[Come nutrition, come food, come truth, come security]
– Atharvasamhita 8.10.4
“Come nutrition, come food, come truth, come security”, invites the Atharvasamhita. Clearly, this is not the expensive military view of security we are encouraged to take these days. What, then, is this security?
This is the security that comes from having access to regular and adequate nutrition. From not having to starve, or suffer chronic hunger. There is no violence in this idea of security, except the quiet, steady violence done to generations of ‘common’ people by making something as basic as daily nutrition unavailable to them. Continue reading Nutritional Neglect: Starving Our Future: Priyanka Nandi