The Hindustan Times newspaper of today has reported that the Central Government has slashed the healthcare budget for 2014-2015 by nearly 20%,, putting at risk key disease control measures, in a country whose public spending on health is already one of the lowest in the world. India spends only about 1% of its GDP on healthcare, while U.S.A, spends about 8.3%, and China about 3%. The cut is estimated to be of about Rs. 6,000 crores, in a country where, according to a UN Report, one third of the world's poorest 1.2 billion people live.
One Union Health Ministry official said that this step will cripple efforts to control diseases. and derail the plan to provide citizens with free or cheap drugs, diagnostic treatment and medical insurance benefits.
In my articles ' Healthcare in India ' and ' Malnutrition in India ' I have described the abysmal condition of healthcare already prevailing in India. With this budgetary cut the situation is bound to worsen.
The above news should be read along with another wonderful news published in another newspaper, 'The Statesman ', today on page 11. Parliament was informed that public sector banks have written off loans worth Rs. 1,06,170 crores in the last 5 years, that is, an average of about Rs. 20,000 crores per year. This money would have more than covered the healthcare needs of the people.
So poor people should die, while crony capitalists make hay while the sun shines.