What does the Union budget for FY 17-18 holds for the healthcare sector in India

In India, the average growth in expenditure on total healthcare is lower than the average GDP growth rate. The GDP spend percentage is lower than most low income countries.

India is a low-middle income country as per the World Bank classification. In fact, the growth in expenditure on total healthcare in India has been decreased from what it was a decade ago (from 4.3 per cent to 4.05 per cent).

In a recent session at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) in 2012,it was noted that India spent about $40 per person annually on healthcare where as the United States spent $8,500. The entire GDP of India was $1.6 trillion then while the US healthcare spending alone was $2.6 trillion.









In the budget for FY 2017-2018, the union government announced a slew of measures for boosting the healthcare in India. In the year 2016-17 the National Health Mission was allotted Rs20,762 Crores which been increased to Rs. 27,131 Crores. For our common consumption, I have categorized the details of the changes as following


Mahila Shakti Kendra” will be set up at village level with an allocation of Rs. 500 crores in 14 lakh ICDS Anganwadi Centres. This will provide one stop convergent support services for empowering rural women with opportunities for skill development, employment, digital literacy, health, and nutrition. A nationwide scheme for financial assistance to pregnant women has already been announced by Honourable Prime Minister on 31st December, 2016. Under this scheme, Rs. 6,000 each will be transferred directly to the bank accounts of pregnant women who undergo institutional delivery and vaccinate their children.


Poverty is usually associated with poor health. It is the poor who suffer the maximum from various chronic diseases. Government has therefore prepared an action plan to eliminate Kala-Azar and Filariasis by 2017, Leprosy by 2018 and Measles by 2020. Elimination of tuberculosis by 2025 is also targeted. Similarly, action plan has been prepared to reduce IMR from 39 in 2014 to 28 by 2019 and MMR from 167 in 2011-13 to 100 by 2018-2020. 1.5 lakh Health Sub Centres will be transformed into Health and Wellness Centres.


The government has decided to ensure availability of specialist doctors to strengthen secondary and tertiary levels of health care.  It has been decided to create additional 5,000 Post Graduate seats per annum. In addition, steps will be taken to roll out DNB courses in big District Hospitals; strengthen PG teaching in select ESI and Municipal Corporation Hospitals; and encourage reputed Private Hospitals to start DNB courses. In addition two new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences will be set up in the States of Jharkhand and Gujarat.


The government proposes to amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules to ensure availability of drugs at reasonable prices and promote use of generic medicines. New rules for regulating medical devices will also be formulated. These rules will be internationally harmonised and attract investment into this sector. This will reduce the cost of such devices. For senior citizens, Aadhar based Smart Cards containing their health details will be introduced. A beginning will be made through a pilot in 15 districts during 2017-18.


The NDA Government did plan to bring about a ‘complete transformation’ of the health sector and even worked on the blueprint of the world’s largest universal health insurance program, partially inspired by US President Barack Obama’s grand insurance-for-all project which is popularly known as ‘Obamacare’.

The Government now needs to act on its plans. The Union Budget 2016 must allocate more money to the healthcare sector. The sector is in dire need of funds to improve their infrastructure and skill sets and to increase capacity. There are leakages of allocated funds at all levels. It is important to link initiatives like Digital India to bring in more transparency in the allocation of funds and its expenditure by Government Hospitals and Medical Officers.

It is said, Health is Wealth. Mr. Jaitley, while steps to improve the economy are much appreciated, a healthy India will hasten the progress towards a wealthy India!

About the author


Purva Gupta is a Management Graduate in Hospital and Healthcare Management, with specialization in Healthcare Informatics from International Institute of Health Management Research, New Delhi. She is highly motivated professional who loves challenges, possesses decision making, leadership and problem solving skills. Please direct all questions and comments on this article to purvagupta456@gmail.com

Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran

Management Thinker, Marketer, Healthcare Professional Communicator and Ideation exponent

This Post Has 35 Comments

  1. Rani

    Nice work purva

    1. Purva Gupta

      Thank you so much Rani. 🙂

  2. Riya

    Thist is the very good plan for improving healthcare sector. Thanks for posting this nice blog

    1. Purva Gupta

      Yeah, indeed. Thanks a lot Riya. 🙂

  3. Dr Harish

    really nice article. Thanks to author

    1. Purva Gupta

      Thank You So Much Dr Harish! 🙂


    Well done Purva.its really nice article. Keep it up

    1. Purva Gupta

      Thank You So Much! 🙂

  5. swarnali saha

    well done dear purva.
    it’s really very nice article.

    1. Purva Gupta

      Thank you so much Swarnali! 🙂

  6. Oindrilla Dutta

    Very Informative Purva… kudos

    1. Purva Gupta

      Thanks a lot Oindrilla! 🙂

  7. Sushmita Sarkar

    Very detailed analysis Purva. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Purva Gupta

      Yeah, It’s totally my pleaure Sushmita. Please feel free to contact if any query arises.Thanks! 🙂

  8. Ashish Gupta

    Hi Purva, really good article to read and understand the money investment of the tax payer in healthcare sector

    A good move – Recently government has fixed the price of Stent which is a lot in demand in heart surgeries and for same prices were fluctuating earlier. It will be really great if prices of all medical treatments/tests can be fixed by the governing body

    Small thing to add – government hospitals image should be cleaned up in terms of hygiene/treatments/tests as these hospitals can be easy to approach by every class of people if proper facility is provided

    Query – We all spend a heavy amount yearly in our life insurances but not even 10% on health insurance. I myself have 4 LIC policies but not a single medical policy. What you think how people can be educated on this?

    1. Purva Gupta

      Thanks a lot Ashish for your valuable suggestion!

      Yes, i totally accede with the fact that government should fix price for all medical treatments, so that patients can pay flat co payments, rather than prices of outpatient surgery and hospital admission.

      Consumers also should pay attention to the quality of care, by seeking personal references or checking Web sites such as Medicare’s HospitalCompare.hhs.gov and LeapfrogGroup.org.

      A few states, including New Hampshire, Maine, Oregon and Massachusetts, have started providing pricing information based on databases of insurance claims, which give a detailed picture of costs. Other states, including Utah, Vermont and Tennessee, are building similar databases. And some nonprofits, such as MN Community Measurement in Minnesota, are also offering state-focused pricing information based on insurer data.
      India should also provide pricing information.

      On the other hand, perception of hospital cleanliness can impact patient satisfaction, therefore it should be properly maintained, by providing adequate facilities (such as HR, Infrastructure-issues of design and inadequancy, Adequate water supply, outsourcing of Housekeeping services).

      The best way for improving the cleanliness at healthcare facilities would be to follow conventional time tested approach of PDCA cycle, i.e

      P- PLAN- Define cleanliness and methodology.
      D- DO- Implement Cleanliness.
      C- CHECK- Monitor and supervise.
      A- ACT- Continuous improvement.

      Because of lack of awareness on healthcare insurance,only 15% of the population is protected by medical care insurance coverage. And worse than that, less than 5% of the population buy a plan voluntarily of their own accord.

      The need of the hour is a 360 degree effort made by a combined effort of health insurance companies, IRDA , TPAs, healthcare providers, insurance aggregators, network of hospitals, distribution channels, government, health welfare organizations and media.

      There’s no denying to the fact that the socio-economic development of the country depends largely on the overall health of the community. Considering this, spreading awareness about medical care insurance will eventually lead to the overall betterment of the nation as a whole.

      1. Ashish Gupta

        A detailed explanation as expected. Believe healthcare sector is in growing & educated hands. Really appreciable!

        Also you have convinced me to buy a medical insurance and will educate people for same.

        I am not having a healthcare industry background as totally into functional role but would love to read your next article and can excel my healthcare knowledge.

  9. Brajendra Kumar Gupta

    Great effort. Awesome article!

    1. Purva Gupta

      Thanks a zillion! 🙂

  10. Manoj Kumar

    Thanks Purva for sharing this informative article. No doubt, Healthcare is the area, which needs to be attended by the Government. It is well quoted that “Heath is Wealth” which reminds us we can’t move long without focusing on health.

    Thanks again for putting your best efforts. The literature shows your strength on the subject. Our best wishes for a great start on your career,

    1. Purva Gupta

      Thank You So Much Manoj 🙂 Have a productive day!

  11. Dr sudhanshu yadav

    Nice article…excellent work….

    1. Purva Gupta

      Thanks a ton Dr Sudhanshu Yadav. 🙂

  12. Devki Nandan Gupta

    Nice Article well done Purva

    1. Purva Gupta

      Thanks a lot Devki Nandan. 🙂

  13. Yogesh gupta

    Really gud …

    1. Purva Gupta

      Thanks a lot Yogesh! 🙂

  14. v p singh bhopal m p

    बुलबुल जी हमें आप पर गर्व है ,अनंत ऊचाई पर परचम लहराएगी,शुभाषीश सहित

    1. Purva Gupta

      Bohot bohot dhanyawad V.P Singh Sir. Apka ashirwad sada bana rahe! 🙂

  15. Prachi Gupta

    Very informative article Purva. Great work!
    Looking forward to read more articles by you.

    1. Purva Gupta

      Thank You So Much Prachi. Yup, Sure, it’s totally my pleasure 🙂

  16. Kiten Meena

    Nice article! Thanks to Vikram he shared. Will be interested in reading about Indian healthcare and where it going.

    1. Purva Gupta

      Thank You Kiten. Sure, will write my next article on this topic! 🙂

  17. Monika Mishra

    Nice article Purva. Keep up the good work!

    1. Purva Gupta

      Thanks a lot Monika! 🙂

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