MVA Government may double health allocation for 2020-21

Mumbai: The Maha Vikas Aghadi government may double the budgetary allocation to the department of public health to Rs 4,190 crore in 2020-21 from Rs 2,601 crore in 2019-20 for expenditure under various schemes and Rs 6,077 crore from Rs 5,374 crore for committed expenditure.

The government's focus will be on the up-gradation of infrastructure, procurement of new equipment to replace the old ones, including the ambulances used under no 108 during emergency, and the completion of ongoing hospital projects. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar may make an announcement in the annual budget 2020-21 to be presented in the state legislature on March 6. The department of health officer told, "The department has made a strong case for higher budgetary allocation to strengthen the public health system in the state. The increase in budgetary allocation is needed, as most of the plan outlay is tied up with not much flexibility and mainly because of the committed liability of Rs 3,130 crore. The committed liability comprises Rs 1,1211.59 crore on National Health Mission, Rs 1,471 crore on Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana, Rs 296 crore for emergency ambulance services, Rs 110 crore towards Prime Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana and Rs 42 crore for Ayush Mission.''

He informed that of the proposed Rs 4,190 crore, the department will need Rs 1,123.81 crore for the ongoing constructions, Rs 253.52 crore for procurement of medicines and consumables, and Rs 131.10 crore for the procurement of equipment for newly constructed institutions. The department expects Rs 2,642.66 crore for the works approved over the last 8 to 10 years and it has yet to be finalised by the department of finance.

Minister of Public Health Rajesh Tope recently met Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar to seek higher budgetary allocation. ''There are, in all, 451 ambulances in operation under emergency ambulance scheme, which need to be replaced in a phased manner. The department of finance may agree to give funds to replace half of these ambulances in due course of time,'' he noted.

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