Health sees marginal decline in Delhi’s 2023-24 budget
The allocation under the health sector in Delhi’s 2023-24 budget was marginally less than that of the current financial year at 9,742 Crore.
The Delhi Finance Minister Kailash Gahlot presented his first budget in the assembly on March 2023 for the financial year 2023-24 and announced that the government plans to increase the number of free test facilities at Mohalla clinics from the current 250 to 450.
Announcing that the government proposes to increase the number of Mahila Mohalla Clinics from 4 to 100 during the year, the minister announced that new Mohalla clinics will come up at metro stations.
He further announced that the government plans to increase the capacity of beds in Delhi government hospitals to 30,000 from the current level of 14,200.
Describing the budget allocation as conservative for a state of the size of Delhi compared to the budgets of previous years, public health expert and Executive Committee Member of Delhi Science Forum, a public interest organisation that works on the science and society interface, including health policies, said that the allocation in the current budget does not seem to resonate with the budget announcements and commitments made.
“It is possible that the government will have to pump more funds as part of revised estimates if they wish to fulfil their commitments, as they did during previous years,” Mr Raman said.
Welcoming the decision of the state government to open more Mohalla clinics at the metro stations, Mr Raman said that the move will result in benefitting the metro commuters; however, he was unsure about the poorest section of Delhi’s citizens.
“Moreover, if the Mohalla clinics need to fulfil the purpose for which, they were set up in the first place, the government will have to provide a dedicated staff cadre for the purpose, appointing doctors, nurses and lab technicians on a regular basis" he emphasised.
“The current stop-gap arrangements of drawing healthcare professionals, including doctors from the secondary or tertiary healthcare institutions on an attachment basis to serve in the Mohalla clinics is not going to work,” he said.
“Also these Mohalla clinics need to function according to the timings that suit the most needy people that they are supposed to serve, who come from poor financial backgrounds and cannot afford to lose their daily incomes,” he suggested.
According to him, enhancing the number of Mahila Mohalla clinics is a good move too, provided they meet these conditions too.
Delhi has 174 Allopathic Dispensaries, 60 Primary Urban Health Centres (PUHCs), 30 polyclinics, 39 Multi Specialty Hospitals, 515 Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics, and four Mahila Mohalla Clinics.