Sunday June 24, 2018
Home India Before union ...

Before union budget’s cutback, State health budgets rose to 21 percent

0
//
53
Republish
Reprint

New Delhi: An analysis of government data released in October 2015 revealed that state health budgets, taken together– rose 21 percent in the previous year, before the 15 percent ‘cut’ in central funding of national health programs in the union health budget of 2015-16.

However, this increase is not uniform across states, indicating that states, especially smaller ones, unable to raise enough money, are spending less on health and education. Exactly how many states spent to compensate for central spending cutbacks over the past year is unclear because that data will only be available by the end of 2016.

As many as 58 per cent of Indians in rural areas opt for private healthcare (68 percent in urban areas), as we reported, because public health care is inadequate, and healthcare expenses push an additional 39 million people back into poverty every year, a Lancet paper said.

In anticipation of the transfer of money to states – a process called devolution, proposed in December 2014 by the 14th Finance Commission, Delhi had increased payments to state plans during the 2014-15 budget: Transfers rose by 108 percent to Rs 2,59,855 crore ($43 billion) for the state plans, according to reporters.

Many increases to states were substantial, particularly in key areas such as village development, education, health and agriculture. The idea, to quote from a government document, was to “provide greater ownership to state governments in implementation of plans schemes and avoid thin spreading of resources, model of restructured centrally sponsored schemes (CSSs) continues. Higher allocation under State/UT (union territory) plan is reflective of this”.

Between 2014-15 and 2015-16, unconditional transfers of tax revenues – or “untied” funds, to use official jargon– rose 55 percent, from Rs.3.38 lakh crore to Rs. 5.24 lakh crore, according to the budget’s revised estimates released in October 2015 (The budget is prepared using income estimates, typically revised after six months to account for actual tax received).

The union health budget rose six percent, from Rs.29,492.5 crore in 2013-14 to Rs. 31,274 crore in 2014-15, the year the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) presented its first budget. The cuts came in the second year of the NDA, 2015-16.

Smaller states can’t find money, therefore, cut health funding.

Although 18 states with poor health indicators, called “high-focus states”,– increased health spending in anticipation of central cutbacks, our analysis reveals how smaller states have cut health spending because they did not have the money.

Jharkhand and Odisha increased their health spending by 80 percent and 73 percent respectively between 2013-14 and 2014-15. Some states saw marginal increases; Tripura and Manipur cut health spending.

Money to create infrastructure has risen in state budgets, from 37.2 percent in 2011-12 to 50 percent in 2014-15, while funds for staff salaries and other administrative expenses fell from 62.2 percent to 49.9 percent.

“The country is close to completing its first budget cycle since the implementation of the FFC (14th Finance Commission) recommendations; any rigorous assessment of the real impact of these recommendations is difficult owing to large gaps in available data,” said a report from the Accountability Initiative, a Delhi-based think-tank. (Prachi Salve, IANS/indiaspends.org)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 NewsGram

Next Story

Microsoft Extends Education Push With Acquisition of Flipgrid, a Student Video Discussion Platform

Microsoft buys student video discussion platform Flipgrid

0
Microsoft Extends Education Push With Acquisition of Flipgrid, a Student Video Discussion Platform
Microsoft Extends Education Push With Acquisition of Flipgrid, a Student Video Discussion Platform. Pixabay

As part of its attempt to win over students and educators, Microsoft has acquired video discussion platform Flipgrid which is used by more than 20 million teachers and students across the world.

“Thrilled to welcome @Flipgrid to Microsoft!” Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, tweeted on Monday.

“To bring the power of video-based social learning to everyone, we’ll be making Flipgrid free for all educators and offering prorated refunds to everyone who has purchased a subscription from Flipgrid in the last year,” said Eran Megiddo, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for Education.

Representational image.
Representational image. Wikimedia Commons

Flipgrid was created with the aim of helping educators recast the role of video in the classroom, from a passive experience to a tool that empowers and amplifies every student’s voice.

“Fans of Flipgrid can rest assured the Flipgrid they know and love, in joining Microsoft, will continue to grow and thrive across the Microsoft, Google and partner ecosystems, all the while retaining its distinct brand, culture and team,” Megiddo added.

Also Read: Microsoft’s Android Launcher Now Lets You Track Your Kid’s Location and App Usage

For Microsoft, which is facing increased competition in the classroom from both Apple and Google in recent years, the acquisition of Flipgrid is the latest in its effort to appeal to students and teachers, The Verge reported.

Microsoft has been improving its Office 365 for education offerings, and also overhauling its web versions of Office to be more modern and faster to use for collaboration, the report added. (IANS)