Healthy funds for hill states reduced to 10% : Azad

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Srinagar: In a landmark decision taken on 6th December 2013 in the meeting of Mission Steering Group (MSG), headed by the then Union Health & Family Welfare Minister, (Ghulam Nabi Azad), revised formula for allocation of resources to J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand was approved which led to an unprecedented enhancement in the resource envelope of these States.

Mission Steering Group (MSG) is the highest decision-making body, vested with the powers of Union Cabinet, in the matters relating to NRHM and is headed by Union Health & Family Welfare Minister, with half a dozen Union Ministers and Vice-Chairman Planning Commission as its members.

The agenda to revisit the formula for allocation of resources to Hill States of J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand under NRHM was mooted by the Ministry of Health on the instance of Ghulam Nabi Azad (then Union Health Minister) since Azad was aware that these States, particularly J&K were deficient in resources and will not be able to meet the healthcare needs of people of their own.

Prior concurrence of Planning Commission was obtained to the proposal of revising the formula for allocation of resources, before the matter was finally approved by the Mission Steering Group (MSG). With this decision not only parity was achieved between the Hill States and North Eastern States with regard to the allocation of resources under NRHM, but an unprecedented enhancement was effected in the resource cap of the Hill States.

In pursuance of this decision, allocation for J&K State witnessed a quantum jump to Rs 423.00 Crores for the year 2013-14, as against the allocation of about Rs 270.00 Crores worked out under old allocation formula. The allocation for J&K in the financial year 2012-13 stood at Rs 213.oo Crores only which shooted up to Rs 423.00 Crores for the financial year 2013-14.

“There was a discrepancy in the allocation formula for the above States vis-à-vis other Himalayan States of North East and this was rectified after prior consultations with Planning Commission, in the meeting of Mission Steering Group (MSG) held in December, 2013. By one stroke of pen we raised the allocation of J&K under NRHM from 213.00 Crores to 423 Crores for the year 2013-14”, said Sh Azad, adding that welfare of entire State has been his prime focus irrespective of vote bank politics driven by region and religion.

“Since the decision was taken on the basis of sound logic and after fulfilling all procedural formalities and importantly, for all times to come, it is going to persist till the NRHM continues and J&K State alongwith Himachal and Uttrakhand are going to benefit on a sustained basis”, said Sh Azad.

Expressing satisfaction that on the basis of revised formula allocation for the current financial year has now been approved at Rs 476.oo Crores, Azad hoped that all the ongoing hospital projects will receive sustained funding in the coming days and that State will utilise the available resources efficiently.

Another historic decision in favour of Hill States including J&K, was taken in 2012 on the initiative of the then Union Health Minister (Ghulam Nabi Azad) when Union Cabinet while pondering on the continuation of National Rural Health Mission for another five years from 2012 to 2017, decided to treat Hill States at par with North Eastern States and fixed the State share at 10% as against 25% for general category States.

Earlier Hill States of J&K, Himachal Pradesh & Uttrakhand were treated equivalent to general category States under the NRHM and State share in their case is 25%. This has given immense relief to Hill States as they will get 15% extra resources from the Central Government under NRHM.

Not only NRHM, J&K State has been duly benefitted in terms of 5 Medical colleges, 2 State Cancer Institues, 3 Tertiary Cancer Centres, 12 GNM Schools, 13 ANM Schools, 670 Sub-centres, hundreds of ambulances, two state-of-art Maternity Hospitals, new District hospitals, Sub-District Hospitals, PHCs, renovation of old hospitals and additional human resource.

Azad further stated that he had ensured central position for health in the 12th Plan which proposed to increase the public spending on health from 1.1% to 2.5% of GDP on the basis of the High Level Expert Group report headed by Dr K. Srinath Reddy and it is bounden duty of the NDA Government to take immediate steps to implement the recommendations in order to achieve the milestone of public spending of 2.5% of GDP on health.

“I have never been for rolling out sops for temporary gains, rather my priority has been creating a framework for sustainable and permanent improvement in the health systems, and I am sure the results of all these initiatives will be available to the people after some lag”, said Sh Azad.

While asserting that all his decisions have been driven by merits keeping in view the interest of the entire State and not by partisan considerations, Azad said that people of the State, who are the best judges, will evaluate his work objectively and properly. 

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