The medical fraternity had expected the union health budget to be increased to at least 2.5 percent, with a separate budget being allocated for disease outbreaks, rare diseases, rural posting of doctors, and free emergency care treatment for all. They had also been demanding health be given ‘Infrastructure status’.
A total allocation of Rs 33,150 crore for health would not make universal healthcare a reality, said Secretary General at Indian Medical Association, Dr KK Aggarwal.
According to IMA, rise in service tax to 14 percent is not in the interest of the common man. The association also hopes that the service tax exemption in the health sector is not taken away. It also criticises that no provisions have been made in the budget for free drugs, investigations or emergency care.
On the other hand, the medical association hails the inclusion of yoga as charitable activity, which is applicable fort exemption under the income tax act, will promote Yoga in the country. According to IMA, separate budget for age related disability is a welcome step. IMA hopes that the money collected from the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan will be used for health purposes.
The medical body welcomes the opening of five more institutions like AIIMS. However, the government should have in one stroke announced that there will be a similar institutions in every state and should have strengthened the existing ones.