Healthy budget: 2 new AIIMS, 5K more PG seats, 28 pc fund hike

Healthy budget: 2 new AIIMS, 5K more PG seats, 28 pc fund hike
To bolster availability of specialist doctors at secondary and tertiary levels, the Centre today said it would create an additional 5,000 PG medical seats every year even as it increased the budget allocation for the health sector by almost 28 per cent and announced two AIIMS centres for Jharkhand and Gujarat.

The government also 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 and plans to amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules to ensure availability of drugs at reasonable prices. It said that 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 presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today, the budget allocation for the Health Ministry for 2017-18 is Rs 47,352.51 crore in comparison to last year's allocation of Rs 37,061.55 crore, an increase of 27.76 per cent. The revised allocation for 2016-17 was Rs 38,343.33 crore.

Hailing it as a "landmark" budget, Union Health Minister J P Nadda said that the budget estimates for health show an "appreciable" increase and will help to attend tertiary care, human resources for health and medical education and to strengthen National Health Mission. Nadda said that the Ministry has spent 73.25 per cent of 2016-17 budget till now and "with this pace I am hopeful of spending the remaining budget for 2016-17," he said.

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 two new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) will be set up in Jharkhand and Gujarat. 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," he said.

The Health Ministry said that India has 472 medical colleges and close to a million registered doctors but there is a shortage of doctors as per WHO norm of 1 doctor per 1,000 population. To facilitate the setting up of more medical colleges, the government had rationalised the requirement of faculty in July, 2015 and asserted that infrastructural requirements are further being rationalised while companies have been allowed to set up medical colleges.

The Ministry termed expansion of postgraduate medical education as a "priority" as the shortage of PG medical seats in the country affects not only the availability of specialist doctors but also the ease of getting faculty for medical colleges. It said that the country has about 18,000 PG medical seats in clinical subjects. Assuming 100 new medical colleges are set up in the next 4-5 years, additional faculty members numbering six to ten thousand will be required.

"The Medical Council of India has revised the teacher- student ratio to increase PG seats in clinical subjects. As per the notification dated 31.01.2017 issued by MCI under its PG Regulations, the teacher student ratio shall be 1:3 for Professor and 1:2 for Associate Professor, who is a unit head. "The relaxation shall be available only to public funded medical colleges in all clinical subjects. The measure is expected to yield about 5,000 additional PG seats in clinical subjects in the coming years," he said.

"A landmark budget was presented today by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with the agenda of 'Transform, Energise and Clean India' with the intention of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas'. This is an inclusive budget which is pro-poor, pro-farmer, pro-downtrodden and for the development of all the sectors and the country at large," Nadda said.
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