The centre has released an amount of Rs.8,453.92 crore as a health sector grant for rural and urban local bodies of 19 states.
The grants have been released as per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission.
The Finance Commission, in its report for the period from 2021-22 to 2025-26, has recommended a total grant of Rs.4,27,911 crore to local governments. The grants recommended by the commission inter-alia include health grants of Rs.70,051 crore. Out of this amount, Rs.43,928 crore have been recommended for rural local bodies and Rs.26,123 crore for urban local bodies.
These grants are meant to strengthen health systems and plug the critical gaps in the health care system at the primary health care level. The commission has also identified interventions that will directly lead to strengthening the primary health infrastructure and facilities in both rural and urban areas and has earmarked grants for each intervention.
These interventions are:
–Support for diagnostic infrastructure to the primary healthcare facilities in rural areas – Rs.16,377 crore
–Block-level public health units in rural areas – Rs.5,279 crore
–Construction of buildings of building-less Sub centres, PHCs, CHCs in rural areas – Rs.7,167 crore
–Conversion of rural PHCs and sub-centres into health and wellness centre – Rs.15,105 crore
–Support for diagnostic infrastructure to the primary healthcare facilities in urban areas – Rs.2,095 crore
–Urban health and wellness centres (HWCs) – Rs.24,028 crore
Health grants recommended being released in the financial year 2021-22 is Rs.13,192 crore. This includes Rs.8,273 crore for Rural and Rs.4,919 crore for Urban Local Bodies.
The Finance Ministry is of the view that rural and urban local bodies can play a key role in the delivery of primary health care services especially at the ‘cutting edge’ level and help in achieving the objective of Universal Health Care.
Strengthening the local governments in terms of resources, health infrastructure and capacity building can enable them to play a catalytic role in epidemics and pandemics too.
Involving Panchayati Raj institutions and urban local government as supervising agencies in these primary health care institutions would strengthen the overall primary health care system and involvement of local governments would also make the health system accountable to the people.
Health grants to the remaining 9 states will be released after their proposals are received through the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.