There is still a long way to go to raise public health spending to 2.5 pc of GDP

New Delhi, July 8 () The country has a long way to go to achieve public spending of 2.5% of GDP by 2025 under the National Health Program, according to a report by the CAG official auditor.

The report, presented in parliament on Monday, noted that public spending on health as a percentage of GDP has increased since 2015-16, but has remained within a narrow band of 1.02 - 1.28 percent of GDP.

The budget estimate of Rs 65,037.88 crore for 2019-20 for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and AYUSH is far from the target of Rs 1 lakh crore central allocation for the health sector for 2019-20, the report notes.

The new National Health Program 2017 is established in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and it was foreseen that the central health expenditure would increase to Rs 1 lakh crore for 2019-20.

The seventieth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the resolution entitled Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which consists of 17 SDGs and 169 associated objectives.

The CAG noted that in the NITI Aayog mapping document published in August 2017, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been identified as the nodal ministry along with nine other implementation ministries with respect to Goal 3 of the SDGs: Good health and wellness.

The report said that after the projections of the 'Three Year Action Agenda (2017-20)' to increase the Central allocation for the health sector to Rs 1 lakh crore for 2019-20, the government allocated Rs 54,852 crore in 2017-18 (RE), Rs 57,671.60 crore in 2018-19 (RE) and Rs 65,037.88 crore in 2019-20 (BE) to the Ministry of Health and AYUSH, which is far from the objective.

The report also noted that NHP prescribes an increase in health spending to more than 8 percent of the state budget by 2020.

The audit examination of the records in the seven selected states revealed that the achievement ranged between 3.29 and 5.32 percent, according to the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

The annual financial allocations for the health sector have increased, but the objectives for disbursements in 2019-20 had been omitted, indicating that there is still a long way to go before the goal of increasing public health expenditure to 2 , 5% of GDP by 2025 can be met, he said.

In addition, providing adequate physical infrastructure and critical human resources to achieve the goals of Goal 3 would be an area of ​​challenge, added CAG.

The report also indicates that Niti Aayog, identified as a nodal agency for the coordination and supervision of the implementation of the SDGs, has carried out various activities.

A multidisciplinary Working Group has been created to analyze and review the implementation of the SDGs. The states have also identified nodal agencies for the SDGs.

However, the CAG expressed concern that a roadmap has not yet been aligned with the milestones defined to achieve the goals of the SDGs in the year 2020, 2025 and 2030.

The CAG has made several recommendations for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

It has been suggested that Niti Aayog, in partnership with the Ministry of Finance, should conduct an assessment of the requirements and availability of financial resources to implement the SDGs for different time frames. It has also made a case for the use of 'direct transfers of benefits' be expanded and strengthened to prevent leaks and improve the efficiency in the use of financial resources. NKD CS MR MR

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