Bangalore, Mar 1 (UNI) The country's health sector has been mete out with a raw deal year after year in the Union Budget and this year too is no exception, renowned health activist Sharad M Tanga said today.
Addressing a press conference here, he pointed out that while the health sector's contribution to the national Gross Domestic Product was over 5.4 per cent, the amount spent on it was less than one per cent.
Stating that there was a wide gap between public and private funding in the health sector, he called for immediate enhancement in public funding to enable rural poor get access to minimum healthcare systems.
He said the prohibitive cost of healthcare was the second most common cause for rural debt. The income of an average Indian family was below Rs 2,000 per month and the increasing cost of healthcare was a bane for them, he added.
Dr Tanga said that though he was happy with the over 22 per cent increase in the budgetary allocation for the sector than the last year, he felt that it was still meagre for a country with a population of over one billion. ''Over eight per cent of the total budget should have been earmarked for the health sector,'' he added.
Dr Tanga, who was a Professor of Surgery at M R Medical College, Gulbarga, said as health was a state subject, he would urge the state government to focus on the sector. Besides he would also seek for promotion of 'Health Tourism' in the state, which had already created a brand for itself. To achieve the objectives envisaged in the National Health Policy, there was a need to increase expenditure in the sector and release more Central grants to states, he added.
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