With a focus on improving healthcare in the country, Union Minister Arun Jaitley has announced that the government is aiming to have at least one medical college for every three parliamentary constituencies in the country.
Presenting the Union Budget 2018-19, the finance minister said that 24 new government medical colleges and hospitals will be set up and the existing district hospitals will be upgraded.
It’s a much needed step given the perennial shortage of doctors in our country. India currently has a doctor-population ratio of 0.62:1000 which is less than the World Health Organisation standard of 1:1000.
According to Medical Council of India, there were a total 10,22,859 allopathic doctors registered with the state medical councils or Medical Council of India as on March 31 2017. The council assumes at one time it is estimated that around 8.18 lakh doctors may actually be available for active service. It gives a doctor-patient ratio of 1:1674. The situation is more grim in rural and sub-urban parts.
However, a parliamentary committee report doubted the MCI data stating “The total number of doctors in India is much smaller than the official figure and we may have one doctor per 2,000 population, if not more.”
The doctor-population ratio of the some of the countries are: – 3.374:1000, Brazil – 1.852:1000, China -1.49:1000, France – 3.227:1000, Germany – 4.125:1000, Russia -3.306:1000, the USA – 2.554:1000.
Even if we agree with the MCI figures, we are still behind countries like Pakistan which has a doctor patient ratio of 0.806:1000.
Government’s move to launch National Health Protection Scheme, touted to be world’s largest health protection programme, is also a step in the right direction.
The scheme will cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families and Rs 5 lakh will be provided to each family per year for medical reimbursement.
The Union budget also laid special emphasis on education sector. A total of Rs 1.35 lakh crore has been allocated for health, education and social welfare.
Emphasis on improving quality of education
Jaitley said that his government will work with states to provide more resources to improve quality of education. In a bid to achieve this goal, the government earmarked Rs 1 lakh crore for a new scheme known as ‘RISE’ (Revitalising of Infrastructure and Systems in Education).
Eklavya School for tribals
FM Jaitley also announced that by 2022, every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal people will have an ‘Ekalavya’ school at par with Navodaya Vidyalaya.
Move from blackboard to digital board
Jaitley also stressed on the need to increase the digital reach saying, Technology will be the biggest driver in improving education.
The government announced a new programme Diksha under which 13 lakh untrained teachers will be given formal training. Additionally, government will also initiate an integrated B-Ed programme for teachers.
Scheme for bright students in higher education
Th government would launch Prime Minister Research Fellowship Scheme this year. Under this, 1,000 best B.Tech students will be identified each year from premier institutions and will be provided facilities for Ph.D in IITs and IISc, with a handsome fellowship.