Finance panel to recommend health sector reforms

The panel’s expert group on health had submitted its report earlier this year, but after the Covid-19 pandemic exposed the country’s health infrastructure and disease management capacity, the group will re-examine the recommendations and submit a ...

New Delhi: The Finance Commission is likely to recommend reforms in the health segment, including increased allocation. The panel’s expert group on health had submitted its report earlier this year, but after the Covid-19 pandemic exposed the country’s health infrastructure and disease management capacity, the group will re-examine the recommendations and submit a final report, ET gathers.

Most of the new recommendations will be based on experiences from the pandemic. A meeting of the Finance Commission held on Tuesday discussed the implications of Covid-19 for the health sector. The expert panel’s report will reflect on the issues. The expert group comprising AIIMS director Randeep Guleria as convenor and Dr Devi Shetty of the Narayana Health City, Medanta chairman Naresh Trehan, Public Health Foundation president K Shrinath Reddy, Maharashtra University of Health Science vice-chancellor Dileep Mhalsekhar and Dr Bhabatosh Biswas of RG Kar Medical College is expected to begin deliberations this week. The panel may coopt more members to ensure a comprehensive set of recommendations related to the pandemic.

The group had in its January report recommended that public health and hospitals be moved from the state to the concurrent list, that right to health be declared a fundamental right by 2021, medical curriculum and MBBS be restructured to make it competency based, health infrastructure be strengthened with strong regional distribution and robust family medicine programmes and specialists at district levels.


The commission is also re-examining the issue of spending on health by Centre and states. India’s spending on health is about 1.28% of the GDP, far below the optimum. The panel’s analysis of the 2020-21 Union budget suggested that the Centre’s capital spend on health was only 0.25%, pointing to the inadequacy of investment on building health infrastructure.
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