Health budget hiked by 28 pc; 5,000 PG seats to be created

Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Arun Jaitley along with the Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Arjun Ram Meghwal arrives at Parliament House to present the General Budget 2017-18, in New Delhi on February 1, 2017. (Photo: PIB)

To ensure availability of specialist doctors at the secondary and tertiary levels, the Centre today announced the creation of additional 5,000 post- graduate (PG) seats every year even as it increased the budget allocation for the health sector by almost 28 per cent.

The government also announced setting up of two more All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Jharkhand and Gujarat and asserted that it has prepared an action plan to eliminate kala-azar and filariasis by 2017, leprosy by 2018, measles by 2020 and tuberculosis by 2025.

The Centre said that while Drugs and Cosmetics Rules will be amended to ensure availability of drugs at reasonable prices, new rules for regulating medical devices will also be formulated soon while asserting that 1.5 lakh health sub- centres will be transformed into Health and Wellness Centres across the country.

According to the Union Budget 2017 presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today, the budget allocation for health ministry for 2017-18 is Rs 47,352.51 crore in comparison to allocation in 2016-17 of Rs 37,061.55 crore, an increase of 27.76 per cent from previous year. The revised allocation for 2016-17 was Rs 38,343.33 crore.

Jaitley in his speech said that the government is committed to take necessary steps for structural transformation of the regulatory framework of medical education and practice in India which includes several steps for increasing post-graduate medical seats.

"The government has prepared an action plan to eliminate kala-azar and filariasis by 2017, leprosy by 2018 and measles by 2020. Elimination of tuberculosis by 2025 is also targeted.

"Similarly, action plan has been prepared to reduce Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) from 39 in 2014 to 28 by 2019 and Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) from 167 in 2011-13 to 100 by 2018-2020. 1.5 lakh Health Sub Centres will be transformed into Health and Wellness Centres," he said.

The allocation for Department of Health Research under the ministry too has been hiked for 2017-18 as it has been alloted Rs 1,500 crore from the previous year's allocation of Rs 1,144.80 crore. The revised allocation previous year was Rs 1,344.80 crore.

Jaitley said that to strengthen secondary and tertiary levels of health care, adequate availability of specialist doctors is needed.

"We have therefore decided to take steps to create additional 5,000 Post Graduate seats per annum. In addition, steps will be taken to roll-out Diplomate of National Board (DNB) courses in big district hospitals, strengthen PG teaching in select ESI and municipal corporation hospitals and encourage reputed private hospitals to start DNB courses," Jaitley said.

He said that two new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) will be set-up in Jharkhand and Gujarat. Health Minister J P Nadda said that enhanced allocation to health sector in the budget will strengthen activities of the ministry towards providing universal health care.

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