Type of Debate: BUDGET (GENERAL)
Title: Further combined discussion on the Budget (General) 2013-14; Demands for Grants on Account (General) 2013-14; Supplementary Demands for Grants (General) 2012-13 and Demands for Excess Grants (General) 2010-11 (Discussion Concluded) .
I would like to appreciate the efforts of the Hon’ble Minister to have presented a very balanced and prudent budget in the present scenario in which we are facing many economic challenges. The efforts on the part of the Hon’ble Minister in trying to get back to potential growth rate of 8 percent which is the biggest challenge facing our country is very clear, as he says with conviction that we have done it before and will do it again.
He has created a road map of optimism stating that higher growth leading to inclusive and sustainable development is to be the mool mantra without any compromise on our social schemes and encouraging inclusive growth.
His emphasis on economic welfare is clearly drawn out with focus on opportunity, education, health, women and children.
The 2 most important pillars of a developing nation are health and education. If we can provide affordable and quality healthcare to the people of our country we can ensure a robust, healthy and productive population. In this context, I would like to begin by saying that private health providers are responsible for delivering nearly 80 percent of tertiary healthcare in India. Unfortunately, heart disease, cancer, neurological disorders, kidney problems and many other are becoming extremely expensive for the common man; many times the poor patients just give up or lose their life’s earning in getting the treatment. The situation on ground is pitiable that people lose their lives and loved ones only due to lack of funds.
To encourage private participation in quality healthcare to poor patients there is a need to give the necessary incentives to them, one such measure is to remove the import duties on expensive medical equipment’s, most of which are not manufactured in India. Such as MRI, dialysis machines, CT, Cathlab, Linear accelerator, these equipments account for 75% of total cost of all medical equipments in setting up the hospital. This will encourage even the private hospital to cater to the poor patients through government funded low cost schemes by reduction of costs and make it feasible. India is short of 2 million hospital beds and a proportionate number of medical equipment. This move will encourage more private participation in the healthcare sector along with the other of our very beneficial schemes.
Another concern I would like to bring forth to the Hon’ble Minister is the reduction of funds for the much needed integrated child protection scheme from 400 crores to 300 crores for the year 2010-11. By the end of the 11th year plan all states and union territories except J&K had signed ICPS Mou with the centre. This is, therefore, the time to increase the allocations for ICPS, but there has been non.
In fact the recurring costs for maintaining five basic structural components of ICPS viz. state child protection society, district child protection society, child welfare committees, juvenile justice boards and childline services as per the requirements of law comes to 505 crore, over 200 crore more than the present allocation. In 2011,the crimes against children reported a 24% increase from the previous year. We read the horrific acts committed against children everyday, this is the time to strengthen ICPS before the situation worsens further.
When we speak about education for all, all means children with disabilities as well and for achieving inclusive education we have to ensure more special educators and necessary infrastructure. Though at the elementary level, education for disabled children has become part of SSA, SSA schools are not yet equipped with all the necessities to ensure inclusive education such as infrastructure and special educators, on the other hand, inclusive education for the disabled at secondary education has declined by 28.57% which is a matter of concern.
I know it is a fine balance of prudence and expenditure and between economic growth and economic welfare. I do but humbly request the hon. Minister to please consider these suggestions to ensure inclusive growth in our country.