The lower allocation of 1.58% for the health sector goes against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's directions to the plan panel to raise resources in a way that public spending on health increases to 2.5% of GDP
New Delhi: The Planning Commission will revisit the draft health chapter of the 12th Plan after experts raised concerns over some of its proposals and the miserly allocation of 1.58% of GDP for the sector, reports PTI.
Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has given this assurance to health experts after they raised objections to the way some of its proposals were drafted in the Draft 12th Plan on health sector.
The Health and Family Welfare Ministry has separately flagged its concerns over the draft Plan to the Planning Commission and demanded a higher allocation for health sector.
Ahluwalia asked the experts, some of whom were part of its own expert group on universal health care, to give their suggestions by Monday and assured them that the same will be taken on board.
Sources say the Plan Panel has assured experts that the draft plan would be revisited and redrafted.
The lower allocation for the health sector goes against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's directions to the plan panel to raise resources in a way that public spending on health increases to 2.5% of GDP over the five years of the Plan period.
In the draft 12th Plan on health, to be finalized by August-end, the allocation for the sector has been proposed at 1.58% of GDP.
The proposal has met with stiff resistance from the expert group on universal health coverage which the Planning Commission itself had set up in 2010 to recommend ways to universalize public health delivery in India.
Chairman of the expert group K Srinath Reddy said they had met the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission and expressed concern over low allocations for the sector. He said the Commission had asked the experts to submit written suggestions for required changes in the draft chapter.
"The Commission has assured us that they would have a review and relook at the draft chapter on health and all our suggestions will be taken on board," Reddy said.
India's public spending on health as a proportion of GDP is among the lowest in the world. While Sri Lanka spends 1.8% of GDP, figures in China and Thailand are 2.3% and 3.3%, respectively. The corresponding figure for the US is in excess of 7% while European nations like the UK, Spain, Germany, Italy spend 6.5-8% of their GDP on healthcare.
Experts also fear privatisation of health sector according to certain provisions in the 12th Plan draft, which have been objected to and the Plan panel has assured them of redrafting the same.
The Commission has cited financial constraints as the reason for the lower allocation for health sector and clarified that privatisation of the sector is not its intention.
The Plan document recommends an increase in public expenditure on health from the present one% to 1.58% of GDP.
Another area of concern is that the document proposes that the central government's share in additional health expenditure would be less than half of what the states would contribute and that the Centre's contribution would be conditional to that of the states.