Skip to main content

Gujarat officials complain: We don't have powers to "use" health budget given in 2005, it was taken away recently

By Our Representative
Gujarat government officials have complained that they do not have "enough freedom" to spend funds coming from the Government of India for upgrading the state's health services. Participating in an internal meeting with the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA), they said, "We were given this freedom in 2005 (a year after UPA came to power). But it was taken away recently."
JSA is an all-India network of NGOs working for promoting the concept of health for all, considering health as one of the essential human rights. Officials bemoaned this amidst Government of India, especially Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya, repeatedly insisting that state budgets should be increasingly decentralized.
Briefing JSA activists on the way the funds, provided under the National Health Mission (NHM), were being used for health facilities in the state, the officials told the meeting, called in Ahmedabad to "understand" budget making, that things have particularly turned bad because "it is impossible to utilize funds meant for a particular head for needs requiring more attention."
Pointing to other difficulties, one official said, "Earlier, the Government of India would provide 90 per cent of the funds under the NHM. However, this has gone down to 60 per cent now. Earlier, the mission director had the powers to use 20 per cent of its budget. But those powers have been taken away."
"Thus, the freedom that the officials enjoyed previously in utilizing funds is not there anymore", the official said, adding, "As a result of the curtailment of powers, things, village health committees are provided just about Rs 10,000, Primary Health Centres (PHCs) just Rs 1.75 lakh, Community Health Centre (CHCs) and sub-district hospitals Rs 5 lakh and district hospitals Rs 10 lakh."
The official admission of lack of powers to utilize funds came following JSA activists complained of poor health services in Gujarat. They highlighted how, despite having 3,000 PHCs, people in a large number of rural areas have to go as far away as 45 kilometres for get basic treatment. They added, that there is a "dire shortage" of physicians and health experts in PHCs and CHCs, as a result of which patients perforce have to travel to big cities for treatment.
Pointing out that, often, in the process, the patient passes away, on activist reported that in Amreli district in Saurashtra region, even in the district hospital does not have any gynecologist, pediatrician or anesthesiologist, one reason why patients cannot be treated in there.
"There is no blood bank facility in a large number of areas", complained another activist, adding, "As a result, it is impossible to bring down maternal mortality rate, which remains on a higher site."
Well-known budget analyst Mahinder Jethmalani, who heads Pathey Budget Centre in Ahmedabad, said that just about 0.75 per cent of the budget is spent on health services in Gujarat, which is "negligible", adding, "What is worse, even the budget allocation is not fully utilized."
Analyzing the latest 2016-17 budget, Jethmalani pointed towards "gross discrepancy" that exists between the spending for health in villages and cities. "While it is Rs 1,144 per capita in urban areas, it is just about 377 in rural areas", he said, adding, "For medicines just about Rs 45 per capita is being spent, as against Tamil Nadu, which spends Rs 65 per capita."

Comments

ALSO READ

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”