New Delhi [India], Jan 27 (ANI): With the Union Budget scheduled to be presented on February 1, civil society organisations expect a significant increase in healthcare and education this year, from the last full-fledged budget of the Narendra Modi-led government.
According to a report by credit rating agency ICRA, in India, public sector accounts for only 30 percent of the total healthcare expenditure.
Therefore, investment in building and maintaining public health infrastructure needs to be a priority in the upcoming budget.
Before the budget announcement, social sector experts have shared their views on increasing public spending in the health care sector.
"First, given the benefit, education has on society; we seek a minimum five percent allocation towards the same, which should be equally split between girls and boys. Developed countries, which have a more mature education system and higher levels of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), have been generously spending around 4.5 to six of GDP on education sector. As a developing nation with ambitious demographic dividend, India must ensure that it invests well in shaping the future of the girl child, seed of the future generations," said secretary general, SOS Children's Villages of India, Anuja Bansal.
"Secondly, access to healthcare also plays an important role in ensuring the future of the girl child while addressing her vulnerability. Therefore, we seek an increased budget allocation of at least 1.5 percent more, to the tune of Rs 50,000 crore from last Rs 48,853 than the last year's allocation, which we, as a part of the social development sector, believe is a very humble expectation," Bansal added.
"Currently children's budget only constitutes 3.32 percent of the national budget. It is time to break this stagnancy at the union level and not just have an incremental but an exponential increase in budgets for children in the upcoming union budget 2018-19," said director of policy advocacy and research, CRY - Child Rights and You, Komal Ganotra.
"At state level, with resource envelop changing post fourteenth Finance Commission recommendation for higher devolution of untied funds to states, expectations is certainly for channelizing additional budgetary allocation for children and other social development areas," Ganotra added.
Meanwhile, speaking about the expectations for Union Budget 2018 towards improving quality in maternal healthcare, executive director, Centre for Catalyzing Change, Dr. Aparajita Gogoi, said "Investment in capacity building of functionaries who have a direct interface with the people such as village level health workers' committees, PRI members, lower level functionaries such as - ASHAs, ANMs and others is crucial. Strengthening the decentralization processes by promoting community based planning and monitoring will lead to proper utilization of funds and resources". (ANI)