Emphasising on the need for a social security buffer, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Sunday said the successive governments at the Centre have been underspending in the health and education sectors.
“We are grossly underspending both on health and education as a percentage of GDP and government’s budget,” he said.
There is a “prime need of social security buffer”, not necessarily in the form the government is now giving, he said.
According to him, insurance companies are the “gainers” with the government-backed insurance scheme.
“For example, we discovered 90 per cent of government expenditure in the crop insurance scheme – Fasal Bima Yojana – has gone to insurance companies and only 10 per cent has been paid out to farmers. That is a bad idea,” he said at an interactive session organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce.
He underlined the need for massive government investment in the public sector hospitals, primary and community healthcare sector where treatment will be free.
“If we have a decent infrastructure available at the public sector hospitals, the question of needing a subsidized insurance scheme should not exist,” he said.
Tharoor, the MP from Thiruvananthapuram, said people’s expenditure on their own health is increasing and the rising cost of treatment is problematic for daily wage earners and poor families.
He added that higher education is over-regulated and under-governed and at the school level, it is focusing on memorization and passing of exams and not in creative thinking.