The Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance has released an amount of Rs.8,453.92 crore as a health sector grant for rural and urban local bodies of 19 States. The grants have been released as per the recommendations of the Fifteenth Finance Commission. State-wise amount of grant released is enclosed.
The Fifteenth Finance Commission (FC-XV) in its Report for the period from 2021-22 to 2025-26 has recommended a total grant of Rs.4,27,911 crore to local governments. 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.
These grants are meant to strengthen health systems and plug the critical gaps in the health care system at the primary health care level. The Commission has also identified interventions that will directly lead to strengthening the primary health infrastructure and facilities in both rural and urban areas and has earmarked grants for each intervention. These interventions are:
Support for diagnostic infrastructure to the primary healthcare facilities in rural areas – Rs.16,377 crore
Block level public health units in rural areas – Rs.5,279 crore
Construction of buildings of building-less Sub centres, PHCs, CHCs in rural areas – Rs.7,167 crore
Conversion of rural PHCs and sub-centers into health and wellness centre – Rs.15,105 crore
Support for diagnostic infrastructure to the primary healthcare facilities in urban areas – Rs.2,095 crore
Urban health and wellness centres (HWCs) – Rs.24,028 crore
Health grants recommended being released in the financial year 2021-22 is Rs.13,192 crore. This includes Rs.8,273 crore for Rural and Rs.4,919 crore for Urban Local Bodies.
Rural and urban local bodies can play a key role in the delivery of primary health care services especially at the ‘cutting edge’ level and help in achieving 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.
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 and involvement of local governments would also make the health system accountable to the people.
Health grants to the remaining 9 States will be released after their proposals are received from the respective States through the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.