State Health Policy – Uttar Pradesh

Greetings on Basant Panchmi. it’s an auspicious day. A few months ago, I was here for the workshop on health policy, and I am happy to see that the draft policy has shaped up well and the inputs have been incorporated. I congratulate the team under the leadership of Shri. Sidharth Nath Singh ji, Hon’ble Cabinet Minister for Health, Government of UP for setting the direction for improvement in healthcare in this large state. With 21.3 crore population, and the role of health as a creator of jobs and its role in growth of the economy and most importantly, Healthcare of UP and Economy of the state is critical to India’s sustainable growth, you have the biggest share of challenges and the opportunity. Also, there is no model available anywhere in the world which you can cut, copy and implement. Financial resources will be a challenge and you have factored the same in your document well. You will have to innovate.

Let me first speak about the document and then its contents. “Excellent document” is my first reaction.

I have looked at the document from three perspectives;  Increasing access, improving quality and lowering the cost delivery. this is the overarching theme for SHP and this was same for the NHP

This policy document is actually of 26 pages which makes it really crisp and to the point.  The remaining 30 pages is situational analysis. When I looked at the NHP 2017, I had split the situational analysis into a separate document, so the policy actually is a much shorter document and the role of policy is to give a direction, and this document does it really well.

Now, coming to the positive side: UP has a large population and Uttar Pradesh ranks first in terms of both adolescent and youth population in the country, accounting for 19.3% of total adolescents of the country and 17.5% of India’s youth. Hence the overarching theme of SHP should be ‘Population Health’. This where we have to go beyond the sick care model. Investments in ‘primary care and primary prevention’ will yield the best long-term dividend

Also, there is not much baggage here in terms of legacy of systems, as we need to start afresh in many areas. Also, learning is available from other states and even some countries as to what has worked. We have the success stories of NACO, Pulse polio, RSBY, TMSC.  All these give UP a good chance transform its healthcare.

Coming to the policy issues;

  • Sri Lanka with less than 4 % GDP spend on healthcare has much better indicators and we have a lot to learn from the Sri Lanka model
  • Data – timely and accurate is a must which will lead to Transparency, outcomes and accountability
  • Awareness and sensitization needs investment and an institutional structure like NACO. Set up a State Institute for Health Promotion (SIHP)
  • There is an alarmingly high rate of TB and this must be project like Pulse Polio, where pro-active outreach lead to massive results

Not only there is a transition in demographics and between Communicable and Non- Communicable diseases, there is a transition within each of the CDs and NCDs

  • Dengue is now responsible for maximum ICU admissions and hence Vector borne diseases must be addressed. Similarly, the JE & AES is endemic to some areas, and it must be addressed
  • Within NCDs, there is going to be a transition in a decade due to our life styles and changed food habits . We will have more problems associated with liver related disorders, obesity, joint replacements. Similarly, COPD will be a big challenge due to the deteriorating environment,
  • Mental Health will be a big challenge due to unrestricted access to the net, gaming as an addiction, and loosening social values and family bonds. This must be factored in the policy.
  • UP has a large section of population into jobs (organized or unorganized) but I did not find the mention about occupational health. Occupational health guidelines need to be framed and enforced. Else, it will cost us dearly
  • Nutrition and diet needs to be focused and you need to prepare diet charts and calorie exchange app and popularize It as a part of the awareness campaign. Micro-nutrient deficiency screening is missing in the document and we need to address it
  • When it comes to HRH, the long-term goal should be District Level Self-sufficiency. This will also help in retaining locally trained and educated people to work in rural and semi-urban area
  • Tribal Population and migrant population’s health needs to be looked into, I did not find a mention about the same
  • Children’s health via School based screening must be factored, and is not in this document
  • Innovations hold the key ,but I did not find a mention about it
  • Given that funding will remain a challenge, UP must look at asset light models of care. Will share the details

Addressing the issue of primary care and gate-keeper:

  • It is a fact that sending doctors to rural areas will remain a challenge and will be patchy in its implementation and hence, I suggest the policy to consider
    • Leveraging technology: Set up mobile app based health helpline, where doctors sitting in towns can provide advice and prescriptions for acute ailments based on STPs (standard treatment protocols). Also, symptoms for common ailments can be put in this interactive app. Technology allows you to do it.
    • Pharmacy is the first POC ( Point of care) and Pharmacist is the first responder for acute ailments. Please use this network as a gate-keeper in addition to nurses, as physician assistants.
  • Biggest challenge in healthcare is lack of trust. A recent survey has brought to light that 92% of the people don’t trust healthcare. Hence, it is that soft skills program for health professionals is initiated on priority
  • I am not sure, if I know the formula for success but for sure, I know the formula for failure. Have the same program implemented in same manner in all the districts. You have 75 districts in the state, some problems are endemic, there are high risk districts with regards to various health issues. Same needs to be factored in planning.

Governance and leadership:

 Reforms are needed in

Clinical, logistics, manpower and administration and governance

Transforming Governance should be ‘qualified’ in its statement as “making healthcare system data driven, transparent and outcome oriented”. You need to engage community representatives in the planning, monitoring and evaluation to make meaningful changes.

Governance reforms are desired in administration, financing and in delivery, and at the ministry level, at the administration level and in the last mile delivery of service and service providers.

  • The Department of health, family welfare, department of medical education must be merged, I would even say that ICDS be brought under the health ministry to make a meaningful difference to the healthcare delivery and to improve the health indicators.
  • Not just Multi-sectorial approach but we need a unified Ministry for Population Health, which includes every department that deals in health directly like, medical education, health, family welfare, AYUSH, nutrition, Pharma FDA to address the continuum of care

Siloed working will never deliver as we will not have convergence and synergy in our efforts. We will continue with duplication and the populations will continue to suffer. Breaking the silos is the biggest disruption

Monitoring and evaluation needs to aim at “Implementation and enforcement”.  Also, if you want to transform, please ensure that there is a ‘spot inspection’ of healthcare providers. There is no other way you can see the ground reality. Please ensure a role of community in planning and execution of programs, it will make a big difference in effective delivery of healthcare services

Delayed payments have led to deaths. Please ensure payment within a defined period, and levy a fine on the approving official for delay.

Implementation framework is missing and we need to mention about the same in the policy , and it should be developed alongside the policy

 Private sector:

Role of private sector is going to be important and hence, there needs to be frame-works for pricing, STPs, EWS beds, oversight mechanisms for ensuring quality, affordable and outcome driven care delivery. Hospital costs account constitute a major chunk of healthcare spending and chronic co-morbidities consume majority of healthcare spending. I would love to see effective steps taken for secondary prevention. The word secondary prevention is missing in SHP.

Please sit with private sector and arrive at a rate for treatments packages. Given that insurance will happen sooner or later, this must be done so that there is transparency in treatment

Both private and public facilities should mandatorily disclose diagnosis and treatment data via health information exchange. Also, this will help understand the treatment and success rates across public and private facilities for corrective action


AYUSH professionals have their own place in the healthcare system and this system has served our country for 1000s of years. Let us work towards clinical validation and effective utilization of their strengths rather than making them subservient to the allopathic system

Sanitation: A week back, I visited the Kumbh Mela site with Shri Sidharth ji, and in my view, the model for sanitation is available for replication across the state

New Models:

Initiate “Janta clinic” model and go beyond the Jan Aushadhi and AMRIT pharmacies. Where POCD, Physician assistant and medicines should be available at 20-30 rupees for people who can pay and free for the marginalized and poor, and let us take this model to marketplace, and ensure that people don’t have to go beyond 30 mins to reach the nearest first clinical responder by walking

Gradually, transition or supplement sub-centres to mobile clinic model with primary care and testing facilities, which can double as an ambulance in the times of need.

Number of households in UP 33.4 million in 2011. Do a GIS mapping of households and healthcare providers. Please use IOT, big data, AI and cloud and do a periodic epidemiology survey through mobiles, and even factor the use of block chain technology if you are drafting a health policy that will impact this state for the next 10-20 years. Remember, we are taking of SMART cities and health is an integral component. I did not find a mention in the document about epidemiology and SMART cities.

Households be linked to health risk assessment tools which could be made available online and are clinically validated. This will help us in addressing issues at the right time.

Population control is missing and needs to be addressed. UP is a big state and it has a large chunk of population which is poor, and hence, we have to ensure quality care for all, but not free for all. Steps have to be taken with inbuilt mechanisms, that those who can afford to pay should not seek free healthcare at the cost of poor. Insurance model needs to developed with time bound – progressive scaling up in terms of entitlements, beneficiaries & benefits

A note to those who are drafting the document, please avoid mentioning brand names of medicines, and statements like ‘consumption of supplements and vitamins etc. are inessential, inappropriate and irrational’.

Health of the people is directly proportional to the economy of the state

UP has all the elements of challenges and opportunities which makes it a fertile ground to find the solution the world is looking for, and I am confident that we will turnaround Uttar Pradesh into Uttam Pradesh

These are the key points from the speech delivered by Mr.Rajendra Pratap Gupta , a leading public policy expert at the Consultation workshop organized by the Government of Uttar Pradesh for drafting the State Health Policy on 22nd January 2018 @ Lucknow




Smart Villages – key to sustaining the Smart cities project

India is a village based economy, as about 68 percent of its population (about 833 million people) live in 6,40,930 villages; the size of the villages varying from a population of less than 100 to about 70,000. Villages are not only the ‘feeder points’ (of providing raw material and manual labour) for urban areas, but are also the majority consumer market for urban industries and hence , ‘Smart Villages’ are essential for sustainability of smart cities project and Make in India. The issue of Smart villages is not about ‘fitment’ but of ‘sustainability’ of the entire economy. Also, when we talk of inclusive growth, villages cannot be left behind, else the growth of the country is not sustainable.

If we look at all the major initiatives of the Modi Government like; the Digital India Mission, Make in India , Swachh Bharat Mission , National Rural Livelihoods Mission, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and Deen Dayal Gram Jyoti Yojana; all of them dovetail into the ‘Model villages’ / ‘Smart Villages’ mission . The former President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam had initiated the PURA Project ( Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) to bridge the divide between the have’s and have not’s. All these initiatives clearly indicate that without uplifting villages, India cannot grow sustainably.

Also, let’s rethink on one important future prediction – that by 2050, 60 % of the population will live in towns. I believe that due to the increasing density, pollution and declining quality of life in towns, over the next 20 years, we will see reverse migration starting, i.e. people living in urban and mega metros will start migrating towards hinterland / semi-urban / villages, as these areas will be less polluted and more peaceful and will offer a much better quality of living conditions. We must be prepared for ensuring that the building blocks of managing the living of a modern family are an essential part of the Smart village design as villages will be the main hub of activity in the next three decades.

Building blocks for Smart Villages :

One has to understand that, to make the villages smart, one needs to have the underlying theme of being ‘asset light ‘ & ‘low cost’ and, the over arching theme of digitization. These will be driven by IOT / Sensors. Almost all the challenges in rural areas are an opportunity for deployment of technology as a smart solution. Future of the village lies in adopting ‘idiot proof’, ‘future proof’ and low-cost technologies that can be used and serviced by the residents and can serve them well!

Building blocks of health for Smart Villages :

If 68 % of the population of the country (living in villages) is not healthy, then the growth of the country is at stake. Healthy population is the best insurance against recession and slow growth. We have to ensure that we provide enough options for people to adopt a healthy lifestyle and stay fit to be productive, and for this to happen, we need to leverage technology to its optimum use, integrated seamlessly into the daily life of the residents of the village.

It is expected that in the next 5-7 years, every household will have access to a phone , house , potable water and electricity and road and hence it is good to consider mobile phone as the basic necessity besides food , clothing , water, electricity and shelter. All the services from the government must converge to mobile-based platforms.

For health in a smart village, we need to visualize the following building blocks;

Mobile Electronic health record (m-EHR) is the starting point for health in a Smart village, as without Electronic health record , people cannot deliver healthcare using technology and these electronic health records should not be PC based but mobile based.

Once we have the m-EHR, the next thing we need is a pin-code wise geo tagging of all healthcare facilities and professionals, so that people can reach nearest healthcare provider or professional keeping the golden hour concept as the basis .

Also, one of the major draw back in distant / rural areas is the delay in getting the data and incidence of diseases, and hence, we need live data and electronic event reporting . Live data will not only lead to timely interventions, but also help in demand based supply chain, thereby ensuring appropriate supplies and reducing stock outs

Also, today there are enough point of care, non- invasive diagnostics which can be deployed for Health Screening using mobile platforms . Using these technologies, diseases can be detected on time, leading to appropriate interventions . We all know that tertiary care eats up about 75% of all healthcare costs and major part of the household savings, and hence technology driven POC (Point of care) screening would be the most effective way to manage healthcare from a cost, prevention and outcomes point of view

Also, as long as we focus on the allopathic doctor based healthcare system, we will not be able to address the issue of shortage of doctors in rural areas , and hence , we will need to use technology to its best across the continuum of care. We will need to move from the ‘Golden Hour’ rule of providing critical care in 40 minutes to a ‘Golden minute’ rule of providing health advice over phone in less than four minutes, and this is very much doable. Also, there are enough studies, which prove that, about 65-80 percent of the time, we don’t need a face-to-face consultation with a doctor. Given the fact that majority of the expenditure in healthcare is on infrastructure and salaries, we must empanel practicing doctors to provide services to the rural people and pay them per consultation. This will make healthcare accessible for the population and more affordable to the exchequer.

The next logical building block would be an ePrescription, so that, after the doctor’s tele-consultation with the patient, s/he can send an ePrescription which is digitally authenticated. This will lead to delivery of medicines either though an ATM machine dispensing medicines or routing the same through a local chemist.

I have visited rural areas across the country and found that sub-centres typically cost between Rs.7.00 lacs to more than 14.00 lacs, plus the salaries and maintenance . I think it is time that the government makes a policy to replace sub-centres with mobile health centres – eHealth centres, which can move the direction of healthcare services from the current ‘to the doctor’ to ‘to the household / population’ approach, and moreover, these mobile health centres can also double up as an ambulance as and when needed. Doctors can come from the nearest semi-urban and urban areas, examine the patient, treat them and go back in the evening. This might work better than the sub-centres in one remote part of the village where the patient has to take pains to travel for kilometers to see the so called absentee doctor !

Smart villages have the potential to extensively deploy Digital Tools / IOT, and flip the ‘doctor centric’ & ‘Tertiary care’ model in the coming decade and lead the way for containing the cost of healthcare`

 This is a part of the speech delivered at the Vibrant Gujarat summit 2017. Views are personal


Healthcare will be reformed when BJP comes to Power

Health Services – increase the Access, improve the quality, lower the Cost

India needs a holistic care system that is universally accessible, affordable and effective and drastically reduces the out of pocket spending on health. NRHM has failed to meet the objectives and will be radically reformed. BJP accords high priority to health sector, which is crucial for securing the economy.

The overarching goal of healthcare would be to provide, ‘Health Assurance to all Indians and to reduce the out of pocket spending on health care’, with the help of state governments.

The current situation calls for radical reforms in the healthcare system with regards to national healthcare programs and delivery, medical education and training and financing of healthcare. Our government would focus on the following reforms in healthcare:

  • the last healthcare policy dates back to 2002. India now needs a comprehensive healthcare policy to address the complex healthcare challenges, keeping in view the developments in the healthcare sector and the changing demographics. BJP will initiate the New Health Policy.
  • initiate the ‘National Health Assurance Mission’, with a clear mandate to provide universal healthcare that is not only accessible and affordable, but also effective, and reduces the OOP spending for the common man.
  • Education and Training – Will review the role of various professional regulatory bodies in healthcare and consider setting up an overarching lean body for healthcare. High priority will be given to address the shortfall of healthcare professionals.
  • Modernize Government hospitals, upgrading infrastructure and latest technologies.
  • Reorganize Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in order to converge various departments dealing in healthcare, food and nutrition and pharmaceuticals, for effective delivery of healthcare services.
  • Increase the number of medical and para-medical colleges to make India self sufficient in human resources, and set up an AIIMS like institute in every state.
  • Yoga and Ayurveda are the gifts of ancient Indian civilization to humanity and we will increase the public investment to promote Yoga and AYUSH. We will start integrated courses for Indian System of Medicine (ISM) and modern science and Ayurgenomics. We will set up institutions and launch a vigorous program to standardize and validate the Ayurvedic medicine.
  • Move to pre-emptive care model where the focus and thrust will be on child health and prevention.
  • School health program would be a major focus area, and health and hygiene will be made a part of the school curriculum.
  • Focus on Rural Health care delivery.
  • Senior Citizens healthcare would be a special focus area.
  • Give high priority to chronic diseases, and will invest in research and development of solutions for chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, cancer, CVD etc.
  • Occupational health programs will be pursued aggressively.
  • Utilize the ubiquitous platform of mobile phones for healthcare delivery and set up the “National eHealth Authority” to leverage telemedicine and mobile healthcare for expanding reach and coverage and to define the standards and legal framework for technology driven care.
  • Universalization of emergency medical services-108.
  • Re-orientation of herbal plants board to encourage farming of herbal plants.
  • Population stabilization would be a major thrust area and would be pursued as a mission mode program.
  • Programme for Women Healthcare with emphasis on rural, SC, ST and OBC in a mission mode.
  • Mission mode project to eradicate malnutrition.
  • Launch National Mosquito Control mission.

Poor Hygiene and Sanitation have a far reaching, cascading impact. We will ensure a “Swachh Bharat” by Gandhi ji’s 150th birth anniversary in 2019, taking it up in mission mode by converging resources and building around jan bhagidari:

  • Create an open defecation free India by awareness campaign and enabling people to build toilets in their home as well as in schools and public places.
  • Set up modern, scientific sewage and waste management systems.
  • We will introduce Sanitation Ratings measuring and ranking our cities and towns on ‘sanitation’; and rewarding the best performers.
  • Make potable drinking water available to all thus reducing water–borne diseases, which will automatically translate into Diarrhoea–free India.


Rajendra Pratap Gupta

Authored the BJP Election Manifesto 2014 under the Chairmanship of Dr.Murli Manohar Joshi

Time for a New National Health Policy

DMAI Logo1

 Rajendra Pratap Gupta

President & Member

Board of Directors

October 27, 2013

Shri Keshav Desiraju

Secretary to the Government of India

Ministry of Health & Family Welfare

Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi – 110108.


Reference: Need for a National Health Policy – NHP

Dear Shri Keshav ji,

I am writing on behalf of the Disease Management Association of India – The Population Health Improvement Alliance. We have been proactively taking up issues with regards to healthcare policy & reforms in India.

On February 01, 2013, when you were appointed as the Health Secretary, people involved with the health sector felt happy that the nation had got its best health secretary!  Expectations are running high!

This communiqué is about the need for setting up a team to draft the National Health Policy. Since the last National Health Policy was drafted more than 10 years ago in 2002, a lot of things have changed, like;

  • NRHM was launched in 2005 as a flagship program focused on rural health
  • RSBY was launched
  • Pandemic outbreaks like H1N1 (Swine Flu) have been a surprise and have shaken the world
  • Rise of MDR – T.B.
  • Increase in the incidence of chronic diseases & the issues related to child health
  • Occupational hazards
  • High IMR/MMR & MDGs deadline approaching in 2015

Besides, a lot of other developments have taken place, like;

  • UID –Aadhaar number for the entire population have been initiated
  • Emergence of mHealth & telemedicine
  • Newer technological interventions for diagnostics and treatment
  • Emergence of Big Data Analytics
  • Also that, India is focusing on transitioning the healthcare system to Universal Coverage
  • Emergence of innovative concepts, like Disease Management, ACOs (Accountable Care Organizations), HMOs (Health Management Organizations)  & Meaningful use.
  • Emergence of the prominent role of civil society organizations in healthcare delivery
  • Role of social media

The 12th five year plan has often been referred to as the plan for health, and I believe, that it is the right time to set up a committee to draft the new National Health Policy by 2015. Even if the committee is set up in early 2014, it will take at least a year to do the survey and complete the policy and so, most likely, the NHP would be tabled by 2015 and would cover a period of next 10 years (2015-2025).

We are sure that you will consider our request seriously and initiate the process for the new National Health Policy

With best wishes and with warm regards

Rajendra Pratap Gupta


Dr.Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, Government of India.

Shri. Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare

Dr.Syeda Hameed, Member, Planning Commission, Government of India

Chairperson, UPA

Presidents of all the National Political Parties

Address at the United Nations

Rajendra Pratap Gupta spoke at the United Nations General Assembly Hall on the issue of NCDs ( Chronic Diseases). This was for the Heads of State Summit on NCDs.

TELEMEDICINE: A solution to the burgeoning healthcare needs to bridge the demand supply gap of patients and healthcare professionals


TELEMEDICINE: A solution to the burgeoning healthcare needs to bridge the demand supply gap of patients and healthcare professionals

By: Sanjeeb Kumar Samal

Recently I had been to villages remote to Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha to conduct health camps free of cost under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme of our company. We moved with a team of general practitioners and with medicines. The dates were announced in advance in order to get a good attendance. Normally 100 to 500 patients turned up in each of the health camp. Some familiar patterns of disease prevalence were observed among the patients who attended the health camps. Aged persons with complaints of knee pain would be common phenomena in all the health camps. In one of the camps I was surprised by one observation. The measure of blood pressure of some female patients showed very high value, which to me was unlikely. On seeking a reason for that the doctors told me that the village folks take lot of water dipped rice with high salt in their diet (in eastern part of India intake of watered rice is common by the poor section of populace)  and the salt is causing the elevated blood pressure.  The doctors accompanying used say that lot of patients will be found malaria positive in the health camps considering the environmental conditions of our venues, but so was not the case. I wish this had a correlation with the ongoing National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) which has given clear cut guidelines and tools to eradicate vector borne diseases like malaria, dengue, filariasis and kala-azar. It was a pleasure to see that the pathology technicians in our team would bring along rapid test kit lots from public hospital to detect the vector borne diseases.

I used to think that non communicable diseases (NCDs) are absent in the rural areas in comparison to urban areas. But, the observation I had in that health camp and interaction with doctors did change my perception. The NCDs of cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes have found their ways into rural heartlands due to urbanization, tobacco consumption, alcohol consumption and physical inactivity. An epidemiological transition is taking place in the rural areas as well. In fact the Government of India has taken cognizance of the fact and has recently launched the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) in the year 2010.

It’s well known that the NCDs are fast grappling the urban Indian population and simultaneously undeniable that the NCD monster is steadily raising its head in the rural mass as well. This calls for deployment of specialists in the rural areas treat the rising numbers of NCD patients.

The Government led initiatives are slow and usually takes too long time in addressing the disease prevalence and very likely that the status quo will continue in the future. If the Year-2011 reports are any indicator of how things are placed in current scenario, the following table elucidates, out of 19,236 specialist posts 12,301 are in shortfall in the 4,809 total CHCs (Community Health Centre: Secondary health care centers for rural population) of our country

Table: Requirement Vs. Deployment of specialist doctors in CHCs


Total CHCs functioning

Required (4 specialists per CHC)


In Position

Vacant (sanctioned-in position)

Shortfall (required- in position)

Himachal Pradesh




























Uttar Pradesh




























Madhya Pradesh














All India

















There are seemingly two options to combat the menace.  One is to increase the postings  of medical/paramedical professionals and second is to apply Information & Communication Technology (ICT) to bridge the distance between the doctor and patient in the existing set up.

Telemedicine is considered as the next game changer in healthcare by leveraging electronic & telecommunication advancement to connect the patients and doctors separated by distance. Treatments is possible over video calls, conferencing calls from consultation to tertiary treatments in mental health, dermatology etc. Telemedicine will also be useful in seeking second opinion and providing continued medical education to health care professionals.

Source: ISRO Site

With innovations in the logistics associated around the telemedicine system, issues like lack of awareness, non –affordability, distance from the healthcare centre and fear of falling into the trap of moneymaking private hospitals, which prevent the villagers from seeking quality healthcare can effectively be addressed.

Telemedicine is in a much nascent stage in India. Organizations such as ISRO, SPGIMR Lucknow , PGIMER Chandigarh , Govt. Medical Colleges of Orissa,  Apollo Telemedicine Network Foundation, Telemedicine Society of India and some private tertiary care organizations are taking pioneering steps in promoting telemedicine. Suitable policies by the Government and entry of entrepreneurs will make Telemedicine an acceptable medium of providing healthcare services to larger and underprivileged section of the society.

About the author: Sanjeeb Kumar Samal, an engineer by profession, a healthcare enthusiast and an aspiring healthcare entrepreneur. The author can be reached

Auditing of the unused budgetary allocations for Healthcare sector


Rajendra Pratap Gupta

President & Board member


December 27th, 2012

Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi


Public Accounts Committee

6, Raisina road, New Delhi 110001


Ref: Auditing of the unused budgetary allocations for Healthcare sector

Dear Dr. Joshi,

Greetings from the Disease Management Association of India (DMAI).

This has reference to the meeting at your residence on 25th December 2012, and the discussions that we had on the Public Accounts Committee report on NRHM  (PAC NO. 1939). I have gone through the PAC report submitted by your good self to the Parliament. I wish to draw attention to the following references in your report;

Page 9: Mission Steering Group (MSG) was required to periodically monitor progress of the mission and to meet twice a year.  Audit scrutiny revealed that MSG met only four times in four years instead of 8 times as per the laid guidelines.

The delegation of powers to the MSG and EPC (Empowered Programme Committee) was subject to the condition that a progress report regarding NRHM, also indicating deviation from the financial norms and modifications in ongoing schemes, would be placed before the cabinet on an annual basis. However, during the past four years, the Mission had submitted a progress report to the Cabinet only once in August 2008 (as per the PAC report).

Page 12: Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in RCH services is not up to the expected levels

Page 18: Regarding composition & functioning of the VHSC (Village Health & Sanitation Committee)

Secretary Health’s statement,

“To be very honest with you, we have got a survey done recently by the Institute of Population Sciences, and yesterday they gave us a presentation. It is not a very happy picture on the village health societies. In many of them, people did not know if they existed; they did not know who the members are; they did not know if they are functioning; that was the finding of the planning Commission’s mid-term review also, when they had gone round the country and seen… that is VHND. There is certainly a vision in the NRHM when it was designed. That has not been fructified……….

“ Our experience with Panchayat raj is not good. They also complained about it. Half of the fund is not spent because he is the co-signatory – either he is not living in the village or if he is, he harasses her and why should she sign? The entire Panchayat raj system, with due respect, has not really worked; the ideal is one thing, but practically it is not; those who take interest, have got excellent experience, but those who are not interested, it is not good. It is very difficult for these people; it has not worked out well”.

Page 19:  Health Secretary’s response on, “how the ministry ensures that the disbursal of funds by the state health societies to VHSCs is monitored”?

“This is a huge task for the states. They are finding it very difficult to keep a track of so many small accounts. But we have given them accountant at every block level. In a block there will be some 100 VHSCs. He should have been able to get these accounts and see what they have spent on and do the auditing. We will have to streamline it further and get them to do the auditing. But we suspect about Rs.100-200 Crore lying unspent. That is our present assessment”

Page 20: Table 3 highlights the gap between the funds released and expenditure.

Page 23: Point 55, “ However, the Ministry have clarified that actual utilization of the funds allocated shall depend upon a number of factors in particular the absorptive capacity of the system. In fact, one of the argument put forward by many is that while the actual allocation in the Eleventh Plan was lower than the original plan allocation, the actual expenditure has still been lower i.e. the system has not been able to utilize the curtailed outlay”

Page 28: “It may be observed that rural households account for around 55 % of the total out of pocket expenditure within the country”

Page 31: Audit examination revealed that 71 PHCs (11 per cent) in 15 states were functioning without an allopathic doctor. In 518 PHCs (86 per cent) of 28 States / UTs, an AYUSH doctor had never been appointed. 69 test checked PHCs were functioning without an allopathic doctor or an AYUSH doctor. This meant that population residing in their sphere of coverage had no doctor available at all in the public domain. In Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Punjab, Sikkim, Tripura and Lakshadweep, none of the test checked centres had an AYUSH doctor.

Page 33: “As per norms, Specialists are appointed only at CHCs level and not at PHCs level. As per the data available in Bulletin on Rural Health Statistics in India (Updated up to March 09), a total of 5789 specialists are in a position at CHCs across the country, as against the sanctioned posts of 9028 specialists…………”

Dr. Joshi, as discussed during our meeting, it is imperative that the PAC / CAG, or any competent independent regulator, starts the audit of unspent funds allocated for each social sector so that the benefit of the plan reaches the targeted population. As DMAI, we would be interested in pursuing this issue further with the concerned authorities. Also, a clear and enabling policy framework is required, so that the bureaucrats can take decisions without fear on fund allocation utilization, and the absorptive capacity of the system increases to 100 %.

I have been visiting the rural sub-centres and have been gathering first hand information about the impact of NRHM. This communiqué is marked to the PMO and MOHFW for information. Will meet you shortly with more details

Thanks for your continued support

Best wishes for a great year ahead, & tons of good wishes for your birthday, in advance. Wish you good health & long life.

With best regards

Rajendra Pratap Gupta

CC:  Dr.Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister,

Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, MOHFW

Dr.Syeda Hameed, Member, Planning Commission

Secretary – MOHFW


President , PHFI