Municipal Corporation's (BMC) healthbudget has
emerged as a disappointment yet again. In 2015-16, an amount of Rs. 3,359.78
crore has been allocated for the health department, a minor increase of 0.8%
from the previous year.
According to experts, there is no mention of any plans to
strengthen Mumbai's civic hospital infrastructure and promises made in the
previous year's budget have not been fulfilled.
The Corporation's budget planning is spread over three years, so the actual
utilization of money that occurred in 2013-14 was revealed in the budget
announcements of 2015-16 on Wednesday. While close to Rs. 2,508 crore was
allotted for health in 2013-14, only Rs. 1,894.47 crore was utilized.
"Nearly Rs. 614 crore lies unutilized," remarked
Ravi Duggal, a researcher with the International Budget Partnership.
In 2014-15, many new promises were made, such as constructing more hospitals,
acquiring advanced machineries and increasing the number of hospital beds. The
assurance of constructing hospitals - a 600-bed facility in Bhandup and another
in Borivali - was made over a year ago. But nothing has been materialised so
Experts said that the promises made in the previous year's budget have been
simply repeated. "For the past three years, the talk of refurbishing
maternity homes in Mumbai is on. The same pointers have been cut, copied and
pasted from last year's budget copy this year.†The BMC has failed to
implement its promises and proposals related to augmentation of health
infrastructure," said a corporator from Kurla, Rais Shaikh. He added that
a total of Rs. 1 crore would not suffice for constructing an 11-bed Intensive
Respiratory Care Unit to provide assistance to over 35,000 patients suffering
There were procedural delays in constructing hospitals
and ensuring that they were equipped with adequate infrastructure, admitted BMC