28,005 Health & Wellness Centres set up Under Ayushman Bharat as in January 2020
New Delhi: Considering India’s demographic advantage of a large young population in the productive age group, improvements in social sectors like education and health leave a profound impact on the quality of life of the people and productivity of the economy. Developments in this regard form a prominent plank of the Economic Survey 2019-20, which was tabled by Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, in Parliament today. The Survey underscores the prominent increase in expenditure on social services, as a proportion of GDP, by 1.5 percentage points during the period 2014-15 to 2019-20 from 6.2 to 7.7 per cent.
The Government’s interventions in the education sector aim to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-4 of inclusive and equitable quality education for all by 2030, notes the Economic Survey. With this objective, Samagra Shiksha 2018-19 has been launched to envisage school education as a continuum from pre-school to senior secondary level. Other initiatives include the expansion of Navodaya Vidyalaya Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Program (DHRUV), Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing (DIKSHA) platform and e-content sites like e-pathshala.
The Pre-Budget Survey also outlines initiatives taken for improving quality of learning and teaching in higher and technical education. These include setting up of Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA), Schemes like National Educational Alliance for Technology (NEAT), Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme (EQUIP), PARAMARSH and mega online degree programme SWAYAM 2.0 among others.
“As per Unified District Information System for Education (U-DISE) 2017-18 (provisional), 98.38 per cent of Government elementary schools have girls’ toilet and 96.23 per cent of Government elementary schools have boys’ toilet. 97.13 per cent of Government elementary schools have provision of drinking water facility,” the Survey states. This data highlights the Government’s commitment to uphold the Right to Education Act, 2009.
The Government has initiated the process of formulating a New Education Policy with focus on quality education, innovation and research. The Economic Survey recognizes high drop-out rates at various levels of schooling and lack of affordability in higher education as areas of concern.
Ayushman Bharat, the world’s biggest health care Scheme to improve access to health and delivery of health services at massive scale, has set up 28,005 Health & Wellness Centres as on 14th January 2020. “To promote preventive healthcare, one and half lakh Ayushman Bharat- Health and Wellness Centres are proposed to be set up by 2022,” the Survey elaborates. Mission Indradhanush has vaccinated 3.39 crore children and 87.18 lakh pregnant women of 680 districts across the country till date. In addition, to address the social determinants of health, the Government has adopted Mission Mode Initiatives such as Eat Right and Eat Safe, Fit India, Anaemia Mukt Bharat, Poshan Abhiyan and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Further, all commercial operations in e-cigarettes have been banned recently.
As per the latest National Health Accounts 2016-17, the out of pocket expenditure (OoPE) on health as a percentage of total health expenditure declined from 64.2 per cent in 2013-14 to 58.7 per cent in 2016-17, observes the Economic Survey. Various schemes have enabled this enhanced access to healthcare, including Free Drugs Service initiative, Free Diagnostics Service initiative, Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana (PMVJP) and Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme (PMNDP), as per the Economic Survey.
To upgrade medical infrastructure, the Government has sanctioned 141 new medical colleges in the last 5 years, the Economic Survey notes. The Government has also supported States to add nearly 2.51 lakh additional health human resources.