Modi government has launched an ambitious scheme like Ayushman for free treatment of millions of poor people of the country, but the truth is that the health of the medical service in the country itself is bad. There is a scarcity of hospitals, infrastructure and doctors. Dreadful event of death of more than 100 children by spinning fever proves that no treatment system can be effective without radical changes in the health system. In the interim budget, the government has allocated Rs 63,298 crore for the health sector, but it is inadequate in terms of health needs. So it would be interesting to see that in the first budget of Modi Government 2.0, the Finance Minister takes any major step to make radical changes in this sector.
Ignore in the interim budget!
While presenting the interim budget in February, Union Minister Piyush Goyal did not specifically discuss the health sector in his speech. Only the beneficiaries of Ayushman India benefited and the benefits of the Prime Minister's Pharmaceutical Center were talked about. A new AIIMS hospital was established in Haryana. However, the budget for the health sector has been increased by Rs 63,298 crore, out of which a budget of Rs 6,400 crore has been released for Ayushman India. In 2018-19, there was a budget of Rs 52,800 crore for health.
PM Modi has set a target of increasing the expenditure on healthcare from the level of 1.02 per cent of GDP to 2.5 per cent by 2025. However, seeing the figures of other countries, this goal does not look too impressive. Actually, the health sector needs booster dosage and it can be expected from a strong Modi government.
Significantly, according to the National Health Profit, India spends only 1.02 percent of the GDP on the health sector, while we spend more of neighboring countries like Bhutan (2.5%) and Sri Lanka (1.6%). World Health Organization figures show scary picture. According to them, one-third of practicing allopathic doctors in India do not have a medical degree. Nearly 10.41 lakh doctors were registered by the Medical Council of India till 2017. Of these, 1.2 lakh doctors were in government hospitals. The remaining doctors are employed in private hospitals or do their own private practice.
About 90 million people in rural areas are dependent on these few doctors for health care. According to the IMA, due to this abnormal proportion, it is possible that somewhere in two hospitals at one of the hospitals, two patients have to be kept, then patients can be seen anywhere in the corridor. On the other hand, the physicians who are on the other side also have a lot of work to do. According to a PwC report, nearly 1 lakh hospital beds have been added in the last decade, but it is mostly private sector and is inadequate according to the needs. Public sector contributes only about 30% of the total expenditure in the health sector. This is 46 percent in Brazil, 56 percent in China, 39 percent in Indonesia, 48 percent in the US and 83 percent in the UK.
There are about 470 medical colleges in the country. Of these, 230 are government and 240 are private. Two-thirds of private medical colleges are in South India. There are neither adequate hospitals in India, nor doctors, nor nurses nor public health workers. There is a big difference in the quality and availability of health care. This difference is not only between states, but also in urban and rural areas. In the previous Modi government, 24 new medical colleges were announced in unauthorized areas. It has been stated in the official statement that apart from opening new medical colleges, graduation and postgraduate 18058 seats will increase by 2020-21.
According to an estimate, there are around fifty-five thousand MBBS passes in a year. As per earlier, these fifty-five thousand MBBS could do all the work, but now they cannot do it legally. Now we have to depend on the post graduate doctor. Post Graduate seats are only about 30 thousand. That means that even twenty-five thousand of fifty-five thousand MBBS will not have the expertise, they will remain only junior residents. Junior residents can only visit the patient.
Experts say that Ayushman Bharat is a great plan, according to the reach and economy of the poor till the health sector service. But most importantly to repair the entire infrastructure of the health sector, because the children suffering from encephalitis of UP, still the best health infrastructure is necessary. A special center has been set up for the treatment of encephalitis in Gorakhpur Medical College, but in Bihar's Muzaffarpur or other afflicted areas, such centers will be built. So this time, everybody will be on the budget to see what the finance minister will announce to deal with this hazardous disease.