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Indian Express
03 April 2010,
Pune, India

The Jan Aarogya Abhiyan has criticised the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) for its ‘miserly allocation for health’ in the 2010–11 budget. While the budget details, which were declared on March 5, are yet to be updated on the PMC website, the JAA has demanded a ‘Janata Aarogya Yojana.’

The budget allocates Rs 59.5 crore, that accounts only for 1.9 per cent of the total budget of Rs 3,196 crore. As per Section 63 of the BMC Act, provision for health services to citizens is one of the primary duties of a municipal corporation.]

However, in a press note, the organisation has alleged that owing to the inadequate provision of Rs 180 per capita, citizens will have to continue to spend on an average Rs 2,500 per capita for their health expenditure.

JAA convenor Anant Phadke said the budget says that owing to threats such as swine flu, the number of beds in the PMC hospitals would be increased from 750 to 1,440. Despite this, the revenue budget for the PMC hospitals has been increased only by 26 per cent.

The budget earmarks Rs 15 crore (an average of Rs 8,330 per family, Rs 1,666 per capita) for the 18,000 PMC employees (90,000 family members), said Phadke. If no funds are wasted on irrational/excessive medical interventions, PMC employees should be able to get good medical care within this budget. However, he alleged that since private medical care is unregulated as of now, private hospitals may overcharge.

The PMC had declared in January 2010 that in case of poor patients referred to private hospitals from the PMC health centres, the PMC would pay for 50 per cent of the bill of the private hospitals up to Rs 1 lakh. “But the budget makes no provision for this scheme, which along with the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana have remained on paper. The two schemes should be merged into a broader ‘Pune Janata Aarogya Yojana’ which would cover middle class also,” said Phadke.

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