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Budget FY 2018-19: Health Sector Requires a Continued Financial Boost

The Indian healthcare sector is facing various challenges due to improper infrastructure, high risk of communicable & non-communicable illnesses, and low government spending. According to the World Bank, as of 2014, the expenditure on public healthcare in India was below 1.5 percent of its GDP (gross domestic product), which is much less than the global average of 5.95 percent.

Currently, the availability of hospital beds per thousand individuals is much less than the recommended average. This sheds a glaring light on the urgent requirement of healthcare infrastructure in India.

The government spending on medical care is unable to fulfill the rising healthcare needs of India. While the public expenditure on healthcare has increased by 23 percent from Rs. 39,688 crore to Rs. 48,853 crore in Budget 2017, a majority of this fund has been assigned to medical education and human resources. It has deepened the gap in the current medical infrastructure requirements of India.

The private sector has tried bridging this gap and has contributed generously towards fulfilling the healthcare needs of the nation. According to the World Bank, the private sector outlay on healthcare is approximately 3.3 percent of the gross domestic product. As of 2014, this private sector expenditure was more than 100 percent of the government expenditure.