the budget for 2008-09, India's Finance Minister has increased the allocation
for health by 15 percent, to Rs.165.34 billion, with stress on
HIV/AIDS, polio and healthcare for the rural and urban poor.
are the highlights on the health front:
Rural Health Mission (NRHM): 462,000 Associated Social Health Activitists have
been trained, 177,924 villages have sanitation committees functional and 323
district Hospitals have been taken up for upgradation. Allocation to NRHM has
been increased to Rs. 12,050 crore.
is the flagship programme of the federal Health Ministry.
HIV/AIDS has come down marginally. The National Aids Control Programme (NACO) provided Rs.993 crore. NACO is the
apex body to prevent, curb and educate people about the disease.
minister expressed satisfaction that the prevalence of HIV/AIDs in the country
had come down to 0.36 percent from the earlier 0.9 percent.
is home to 2.5 million HIV/AIDS patients including over 70,000 children below
the age of 14.
also exempted excise duty on all anti-AIDS drugs and cut customs duty from 10
percent to five percent on life saving drugs.
Drive to eradicate polio continues with revised strategy and focus on the high
risk districts in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Rs. 1,042 crore allocated in
recorded 864 cases in 2007 as against 676 cases the previous year.
this year, India has reported 82 cases, more than the number of cases reported
in entire 2005.
the education and health sectors 'the twin pillars on which rests the
edifice of social sector reforms', the minister made two major
interventions -- under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, every worker in the
unorganised sector in the below poverty line (BPL) category and his family
would get health cover of Rs.30,000.
the elderly, a National Programme for the Elderly is to be started in 2008-09.
budget provides for Rs.10 billion for the Aam Admi Bima Yojana that provides
insurance cover to poor households. This will cover 10 million poor households
in addition to the 10 million likely to be covered by Sep 30 this year.
Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana will be functional from April 1 2008. Initially
it will start in states of Delhi and neighbouring Haryana.
also announced a five-year tax holiday for setting up hospitals in Tier-II and
Tier-III cities, reports news agency IANS.
support for child care centres too has been stepped up. Integrated Child
Development Services (ICDS): Allocation for ICDS enhanced from Rs.5,293 crore
in 2007-08 to Rs.6,300 crore in 2008-09; Remuneration of Anganwadi workers
being increased from Rs.1,000 per month to Rs.1,500 per month; remuneration of
Anganwadi Helpers increased from Rs.500 per month to Rs.750 per month; over 18
lakh Anganwadi workers and helpers to benefit; 5,959 ICDS projects and 932,000
Anganwadi and mini-Anganwadi centres functional under ICDS at the end of
Overall it is a
concerted attempt to ensure better health for Indian citizens, especially the
poorer sections, it has been claimed.