New Delhi: The Central government has released an amount of Rs 8,453.92 crore as a health sector grant for rural and urban local bodies of 19 states to strengthen health systems and plug critical gaps in the health care system at the primary health care level, informed the Ministry of Finance on Saturday (November 13).
The Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, has released the grant as per the recommendations of the Fifteenth Finance Commission.
The Fifteenth Finance Commission (FC-XV), in its report for the period from 2021 to 22 to 2025-26, has recommended a total grant of Rs 4,27,911 crore to local governments.
The 19 states are Andhra Pradesh (Rs 488.1527 cr), Arunachal Pradesh (Rs 46.944 cr), Assam (Rs 272.2509 cr), Bihar (Rs 1116.3054 cr), Chhattisgarh (Rs 338.7944 cr), Himachal Pradesh (Rs 98.0099 cr), Jharkhand (Rs 444.3983 cr), Karnataka (Rs 551.53), Madhya Pradesh (Rs 922.7992), Maharashtra (Rs 778.0069 cr), Manipur (Rs 42.8771), Mizoram (Rs 31.19 cr), Odisha (Rs 461.7673 cr), Punjab (Rs 399.6558 cr), Rajasthan (Rs 656.171 cr), Sikkim (Rs 20.978 cr), Tamil Nadu (Rs 805.928 cr), Uttarakhand (Rs 150.0965 cr), and West Bengal (Rs 828.0694 cr).
"The grants recommended by the Commission inter-alia include health grants of Rs 70,051 crore. Out of this amount, Rs 43,928 crore have been recommended for Rural Local Bodies and Rs 26,123 crore for Urban Local Bodies," said the Finance Ministry.
The Commission has also identified interventions that will directly strengthen the primary health infrastructure and facilities in rural and urban areas and have earmarked grants for each intervention.
The ministry earmarked grants of Rs 16,377 crore for support for diagnostic infrastructure to the primary healthcare facilities in rural areas, Rs 5,279 crore for block-level public health units in rural areas, Rs 7,167 crore for the construction of buildings of building-less Sub centres, PHCs, CHCs in rural areas and Rs 15,105 crore for the conversion of rural PHCs and sub-centres into health and wellness centre.
Also, Rs 2,095 crore has been granted to support diagnostic infrastructure to the primary healthcare facilities in urban areas and Rs 24,028 crore urban health and wellness centres (HWCs).
"Health grants recommended to be released in the financial year 2021-22 is Rs 13,192 crore of which Rs 8,273 crore is for rural and Rs 4,919 crore is for urban local bodies," the Ministry said.
It also said that the rural and urban local bodies could play a key role in delivering primary health care services, especially at the 'cutting edge' level and help achieve the objective of Universal Health Care.
"Strengthening the local governments in terms of resources, health infrastructure and capacity building can enable them to play a catalytic role in epidemics and pandemics too," the ministry added.
It further said that involving Panchayati Raj institutions and urban local government as supervising agencies in these primary health care institutions would strengthen the overall primary health care system. The involvement of local governments would also make the health system accountable to the people.
The ministry further added that the health grants to the remaining nine states would be released after their proposals are received from the respective states through the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.