Mumbai: Aspiring to provide better health facilities to Mumbaikars, than other countries, seems to be just on paper as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has utilised only 30 per cent of the capital budget from its overall health budget. Health experts and corporators raised questions saying the civic body does not want to improve the health sector, though the allocation for the health budget has increased over the last two years.
According to the data provided by the civic health department, it has used Rs 245.22 crore from the capital budget of Rs 808.56 crore in the last eight months (April to November). However, the total health budget is Rs 4,151 crore for 2019-20 and it was increased compared to 2018-19, which was at Rs 3,636.82 crore.
“The capital budget was allocated to improve the hospital facilities, purchase of medicines and other things that were related to hospitals. But it has been learnt that the administration has failed to utilise the budget in a proper way and its impact is seen on hospitals,” said an official.
Sunil Dhame, deputy municipal commissioner, health said, “We will be having the budget review meeting in which they will decide the future strategy for using the remaining budget.”
Health experts said the civic body always claim that they will reduce patients burden from major hospitals and will strengthen the primary and peripheral hospitals.
But looking at the budget utilised, they have only used 24.46 per cent for primary healthcare and 29.42 per cent for peripheral hospitals, which is very less compared to 80 per cent of the budget utilised by the medical colleges that are allocated in the health budget.
“There are many issues that have not been solved for years like shortage of medicines, less bed, improving infrastructure and starting new initiatives that will benefit patients. We do not know what the civic body is going to do with the 70 per cent of budget that has not been utilised for healthcare,” said experts.
Rais Shaikh, MLA and corporator, Samajwadi Party said, “Health was never in the priority list of the BMC and they only increase the budget namesake. We keep raising several issues that fell on deaf ears and they say we have a less budget.”