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Study shows lower commitment by State to provide funds to districts for health needs
‘Government was unable to give back to State as much as it gained from economic activities'
Bangalore: Even as the State's economy continued to grow over the years, the Government's spending on health declined sharply.
According to a study on decadal spending on health in the State, it was found that the Health and Family Welfare Department's health expenditure as a share of gross state domestic product (GSDP) declined from 0.96 per cent in 1999-2000 to 0.76 per cent in 2008-09.
“Though the GSDP showed a positive growth rate, the health expenditure in the State was unable to meet the growing GSDP and the Government was unable to return to the State as much as it gained from the economic activities of the State,” said a study conducted by researchers Anaka Aiyar and Achala Yareseeme of Centre for Budget and Policy Studies (CBPS), Bangalore.
It said health spending was still low in the State (less than 1 per cent).
In 2001, the Centre had set a goal to increase expenditure to 2 per cent by the end of the decade.
There was an increased dependence on the Central Government for increasing health spending.
The Central Government's contribution increased from 11.87 per cent in 1999-2000 to 24.12 per cent in 2008-09, which indicated increased dependence of the State on Central funds.
A large increase has come from the growing share of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) funds in the State's share of health spending.
Karnataka spends more than 85 per cent of funds on recurring expenditures, of which programme costs and expenditure on human resource constituted around 80 per cent of the total.
The health expenditure of all government departments as a share of GSDP declined from 1.10 per cent in 1999-2000 to one per cent in 2008-09, said the study on ‘Analyses of Expenditure on Health by the Karnataka Government'.
During 2008-09, primary care spending was 45 per cent of the total expenditure. Expenditure on secondary care was 10 per cent and tertiary care around 18 per cent. The rest of the expenditure was on administration or expenditure that could not be classified, it said.
Block grants drop
The State's share of block grants (funds transferred directly to districts) decreased from 23.8 per cent in 1999-2000 to 16.38 per cent in 2008-09, which showed a lower commitment to provide districts adequate funds to meet growing health needs under the framework of decentralised planning, the study said.
The researchers said most funds to the zilla panchayat in Shimoga were used to cover salary costs and less than three per cent was used for programme costs.
Per capita expenditure
On an average, the per capita expenditure on health in taluk budgets in Shimoga district was Rs. 109 in 2008-09, it said.
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