New Delhi: The government has admitted to low health allocation, which is the major driver for high infant and maternal mortality rates. By its own admission, India has the lowest health spending as a proportion of GDP, with the number looking a little better due to the contribution by the private sector.
According to the Economic Survey, India spends 4.1% of GDP on health, while China and Russia—low spenders among the 11 countries identified in the government document—spend a percentage point more. Brazil and South Africa are near the 9% range, making India the worst performer in the BRICS group.
Had it not been for the private sector the health spending in India would have looked even worse. In fact, the private sector expenditure in the country is an outlier of sorts as it is more than double the government spend, a trend that is only seen in India because of the absence of government healthcare.
What adds to the woes is the overlap of government schemes. Several flagship programmes such as Janani Suraksha Yojna, Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram and Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojna end up focusing on the same beneficiaries.