Govt cant spend 9 pc on health, education this fiscal: Sen

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New Delhi, Nov 13 (UNI) Planning Commission member Abhijit Sen today admitted that the Government would not be able to meet the target of spending nine per cent of the GDP on health and education this fiscal, and said this would be possible by the end of the Eleventh Plan.

''Nine per cent expenditure is not going to happen this year. It can be expected at the end of the Eleventh Plan, but not this year,'' he said, while releasing a status report on health and education on the eve of Children's Day.

The report titled ''Ensuring Universal Access to Health and Education'' has been compiled by the 'Wada Na Tod Abhiyan', a national level coalition of 3000 civil society organisations from across the country. It is being released simultaneously in ten states like Orissa, Meghalaya, UP and Maharashtra.

The 'Nine is mine' campaign has also collected 300,001 signatures which will be sent to Finance Minister P Chidambaram, and urge him to make provision for investment of nine per cent of GDP on health and education in the coming Union Budget, for which the Government begins its exercise this month, said Amitabh Behar, convenor of the campaign.

Prof Sen said that right to education should be notified and that children should legally entitled to a certain standard of education.

''The Government-run schools must live upto a certain standard of education to ensure education for all.'' Speaking on the occasion, Ms Vimala Ramchandran, who has co-authored the report with Prof Imrana Qadeer, underlined the need to ensure that schools are well equipped.

''Apart from teachers and text books, facilities like library, playgrounds and educational aids, should be provided,'' she said.

She stressed on the need for more secondary education schools, while pointing out that for every three elementary schools, there is only one middle school.

Prof Qadeer, who has authored the health section of the report, regretted that while the WHO calls for allocation of seven per cent of the GDP for health, India spends hardly one per cent while Nepal, Bangladesh and South Africa spend three per cent.

Emphasing that health services should be in the Government sector, she said that the shift towards private sector participation in the primary health care segment has been a bane for the poor.

''Every public-private partnership iniative had been profitable for the private partner. The level of services in the Government-run hospital is so bad that the poor people are forced to go to the private sector,'' she said.

Regretting that the private sector is being given more concessions like free land, tax concessions, Prog Qadeer said the subsidies should rather be brought to the healthcare sector and primary health care should be more a Government-run effort.


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