India’s public spending on health well below global avg: Survey

NEW DELHI: The country’s public spending on health is “little over” 1 per cent of GDP, the Economic Survey said today, adding that there are “insufficient” instances of good models in the health sector.

“Given the pressing need to redistribute, India did not invest sufficiently in human capital – for instance, public spending on health was an unusually low 0.22 per cent of the GDP in 1950-51.

“This has risen to a little over 1 per cent today, but well below the world average of 5.99 per cent,” the survey tabled in Parliament said.

It said that as per Reserve Bank of India data, expenditure on social services by Centre and states, as a proportion of GDP was 7.0 per cent during 2016-17 (Budget Estimate), with education and health sectors accounting for 2.9 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively.

“The year 2014-15 in respect of which latest actual figures are available showed a significant decline from the RE level following a large decrease in actual social sector expenditure of the states from the revised estimates,” it said.

It said that on state capacity, delivery of essential services such as health and education, which are predominantly the preserve of state governments, remains “impaired”.

“But on health and education there are insufficient instances of good models that can travel widely within India and that are seen as attractive political opportunities. Competitive populism needs a counterpart in competitive service delivery,” it said.

The Economic Survey said that a second distinctive feature of the Indian economic model is the “weakness” of state capacity, especially in delivering essential services such as health and education. (AGENCIES)