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Government to increase health spending by 11 – Union Budget 2018 Highlights

Business News

It is expected that in the upcoming budget, leading government will raise its public health spending by 11 percent. After rejecting Health Minister JP Nadda’s demand for a much bigger increase to ramp up disease control in a letter to the finance minister on Nov. 26. JP Nadda asked for a bare minimum budget of nearly $10 billion for 2018-19. However, the government failed to do so. Health Minister was expecting 33 percent hike than last year in public health spending.

The health Minister argued the funds were needed for expanding vaccination coverage, free drugs distribution, and also to ward off a growing threat of non-communicable diseases, such as cancer and diabetes, which killed 6 million people in India in 2016. However, the health budget is expected to rise by 11 percent to $8.2 billion as his request was not approved by the finance minister. Prime Minister The leading BJP government last year set a target of raising annual health spending to 2.5 percent of India’s GDP by 2025, from 1.15 percent now, which is one of the lowest proportions in the world. It is expected that the health budget this year will put that pledge at risk. People are questioning the government that what is the point of having a GDP target if the government cannot raise the health budget?

Union Budget for the financial year ending March 2019 will be presented on Feb. 1. Shamika Ravi, who is a member of Modi’s economic advisory council, has announced that $8.2 billion annual health budget is not sufficient at all. She also went on saying that if we underspend on health, it will impact India’s overall GDP by lowering productivity in the long term. She will continue to advise the government to allocate more funds for health care to achieve its 2025 GDP target.

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