It is commendable that the government plans to create AIIMS in every state, and the allocation of Rs 500 crores for setting up the same in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Vidharbha and Purvanchal is a welcome step. Also, by raising the excise duty on cigarettes from 11 percent to 72 percent the government has sent a out a clear signal that it can take tough decisions to discourage anything that degrades health of the common man. The move is significant given that smoking is the reason behind rising lifestyle diseases in the country. The increase in excise duty will certainly dissuade people, especially youngsters, from smoking. However, steps to make healthcare more accessible, improve quality care and reduce costs are completely missing in the budget. The government should have spelt out more initiatives to encourage private sector’s participation in healthcare industry, which is important to improve India’s healthcare scenario.
Thursday, July 10, 2014