Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Healthcare spending

Union budget 2013: India “could do better,” say doctors

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 12 March 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1605
  1. Jeetha D’Silva, freelance journalist, Mumbai
  1. j.dsilva{at}

India’s budget for 2013-4 has been received as disappointing for healthcare, with low increases in public spending and more surcharge on private sector profit, finds Jeetha D’Silva, but there were more positive moves for research and doctors’ training

Doctors have complained that India’s budget this year, announced on 28 February, included few concrete measures to improve health in the country, which suggests a lack of commitment on the part of the government. The union budget has implications for private and public healthcare sectors. Private sector spending accounts for almost three quarters of total spending on healthcare in India. Public spending, on the other hand, is among the lowest in the world as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP).1

On paper, the government has acknowledged the need to invest in healthcare—for example, in its latest five year plan. And, in his budget speech, India’s finance minister, P Chidambaram, reiterated that health for all and education will remain the government’s priorities. The government raised total allocation for funded health initiatives from 304 770 million rupees (£3760m; €4309m; $5603m) to 373 300 million rupees. “Of this, the new National Health Mission that combines the rural mission and the proposed urban mission will get 21 239 crore [212 390 million] rupees,” Chidambaram said.2

Should have been 200%

This might seem a …

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