New Delhi: A parliamentary standing committee has raised concerns over the shortfall in budget allocation for the health ministry. According to the committee report, which was tabled in Parliament, the health ministry had projected an estimate of Rs 93,299 crore for the 2022-23 financial year. However, it has been allocated Rs 83,000 crore in the 2022-23 budget estimate.
The committee has, therefore, recommended the health ministry to approach the ministry of finance to grant adequate funds at the time of supplementary demands for grants for the 2022-23 financial year to ensure that no scheme/project suffers for want of funds.
The committee has also reiterated the need to increase the budgetary allocation to the sector. In its report, it has recommended the finance ministry to earmark at least 2. 5 per cent of GDP for the health ministry to ensure affordable and accessible health services to all and reduce the share of out–of– pocket expenditure (OOPE).
Many key health departments and hospitals run by the Centre have an acute shortage of staff. The Centre Government Health Services (CGHS), for example, has 287 posts vacant for medical officers out of a sanctioned strength of 1,531. A total of 32 posts are vacant for gazetted staff other than medical officers and 1,537 non-gazetted posts out of 4,728 sanctioned posts. “. . . the ministry more often than not, counts on plethora of steps taken to fill up the vacant posts, still the position of vacant posts continues to remain static year after year. . . the committee, therefore, recommends the ministry to adhere to measure of human resource forecasting management modeland streamline the recruitment process to fill up the position of vacancy status against the sanctioned strength,” the report says.
At AIIMS Delhi too, the report says, a total of 404 Group-A medical posts are vacant. The parliamentary standing committee has, therefore, urged the AIIMS management and the ministry to take concrete steps for filling up of vacant posts without further delay.
“The committee understands that such vacancies must have bearing on the administration efficiency and overall functioning of the ministry. Accordingly, it is incumbent upon the ministry to take up the matter of filling up of vacant posts with respective cadre controlling authorities viz. Department of Personnel and Training (DoP&T), Department of Economic Affairs and Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation etc. and apprise committee of response of those cadre controlling authorities towards filling up such vacancies,” the committee has noted in its report.