New targets and programmes for health and education sector
The government has 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 Infant Mortality Rate from 39 per 1,000 live births in 2014 to 28 by 2019 and Maternal Mortality Ratio from 167 per 100,000 live births in 2011-13 to 100 by 2018-2020. Also, 1.5 lakh Health Sub Centres will be transformed into Health and Wellness Centres.
The Finance Minister Mr Jaitley in his Budget speech said that to strengthen secondary and tertiary levels of health care, adequate availability of specialist doctors was needed. “We have, therefore, decided to take steps 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. The Central Government will work with the State Governments to take these tasks forward. The Government is committed to take necessary steps for structural transformation of the Regulatory framework of Medical Education and Practice in India’’ he added.
Two new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) will be set-up in Jharkhand and Gujarat.
The Budget also 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.
In the higher education sector, the government will undertake reforms in the University Grants Commission. Good quality institutions would be enabled to have greater administrative and academic autonomy. In his Budget Speech, the Finance Minister said that the colleges will be identified based on accreditation and ranking, and given autonomous status. A revised framework will be put in place for outcome based accreditation and credit based programmes.
He also proposed to introduce a system of measuring annual learning outcome in the schools. He said that emphasis would be given on science education and flexibility in curriculum to promote creativity through local innovative content. Similarly, he proposed to create innovative fund for secondary education for ensuring universal access, gender parity and quality improvement. This will include ICT enabled learning, transformation and the focus will be on 3,479 educationally backward blocks.
The government proposes to establish a National Testing Agency as an autonomous and self-sustained premier testing organization to conduct all entrance examinations for higher education institutions. This would free CBSE, AICTE and other premier institutions from these administrative responsibilities so that they can focus more on academics.
Women and Child:
The government has said that 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. Under nationwide scheme for financial assistance to pregnant women Rs. 6,000 each will be transferred directly to the bank accounts of pregnant women who undergo institutional delivery and vaccinate their children.
For the welfare of women and children under various schemes across all the Ministries the allocation has been stepped-up from Rs.1,56,528 crore in BE 2016-17 to Rs. 1,84,632 crore in 2017-18.”