'States not doing enough in health sector'

Ghulam Nabi Azad

"What I see is that the state governments think the government of India is giving money, why should we bother," Azad said.

According to Azad, this defeats the entire purpose of the NRHM. "We have to tell them that you also have to do your duty and put in extra money."

Observing that states have started thinking of the Centre's NRHM scheme as "replacement" to their duties in the health sector, he said, "...whether it is going in the right direction...I do not feel so.

"From our side we are doing enough," he said, adding that the states have not increased their budget in the health sector but instead decreased it.

"I shall have to discuss with each state government. They will have to share the burden. We have said we will give money or extra doctors, infrastructure, primary health structures and other facilities.

"We are not the replacement. It (health) is a state subject...We have come to add to you services not replace you," he said.

The Health Minister said he would visit each state over the coming months to monitor the implementation of NRHM.

Though some states are doing better in immunisation than others, Azad said almost all of them are lacking in health infrastructure.

"The state governments should increase their spending and we should also lend a helping hand. So that instead of achieving something in 60 years, we achieve it in four years," he said.

NRHM is a top priority scheme of the UPA government conceived in 2005 to firm up the rural health infrastructure of the country.

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